Trek Theatre

Joel Morgan, left, and Conant Townsend portrayed the roles of First Officer Spock and Captain Kirk last year in Eugene Trek Theatre's performance of “Pon Farr: A Green-Blooded Musical Love Story." This year, the company has expanded its horizons and will perform a version of the 1956 flick "Forbidden Planet" on Sunday afternoon in Corvallis' Central Park.  

The E, File photo

The crew from Eugene's Trek Theatre is boldly going in a new creative direction this season, away from "Star Trek."

For its Sunday performance in Corvallis, the theater company will stage "Forbidden Planet" (1956). The classic science fiction film helped pave the way for "Trek," says Christina Allaback, Trek Theatre artistic director.

"Apparently, 'Forbidden Planet' was one of the inspirations for Gene Roddenberry when he was creating and writing 'Star Trek,'" she said. "It was the first science fiction movie that took the genre seriously."

Trek Theatre presents "Forbidden Planet in the Park" Sunday afternoon in Corvallis' Central Park. It will be only the company's second performance of its new production.

For people unfamiliar with "Forbidden Planet," Allaback said it is kind of a retelling of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

In the film, a spacecraft travels to the planet Altair IV to learn the fate of a group of scientists sent there 20 years earlier. When Commander Adams and his crew arrive, they discover only two people remain, Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Altaira, who was born on the remote planet.

The other scientists have died under unusual circumstances, and the Altair IV crew is trying to figure out what happened to them.

Allaback said another reason she wanted to direct "Forbidden Planet" specifically was its soundtrack, which featured the use of a Theremin, an electronic instrument. It was the first entirely electronic film score.

"The husband and wife (electronic music pioneers Bebe and Louis Barron) sort of had to invent in-depth instruments to make their soundtrack, and they would've been up for an Academy Award, but the union didn't consider what they played instruments," Allaback said.

Allaback connected with musician Isaac Paris after she saw him play his Theremin at an event. Paris will provide the show's soundtrack and sound effects.

"We really wanted to do an homage to the original soundtrack, but also make it our own," she said.

Paris, a sound engineer and a cast of 14 actors will perform the "Forbidden Planet" Sunday afternoon.

Allaback considers the performance family-friendly, but said parents should use their own discretion. The play does include stage violence, a death and a monster.

She said the group was able to make some cool props. These include a bunch of ray guns made with cardboard and glow sticks inside, a big doorway and transmitters that are destroyed during the course of the production.

Allaback said that the script was difficult to adapt to the stage and presented some challenges.

"We came up with some pretty creative ideas that I think are very whimsical, and adults and children will really like that," she said.

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