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I am so disappointed that when we were in Chicago over the Thanksgiving holidays, we were unable to see the theatrical production highlighted the other day in the Wall Street Journal.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Performed entirely in Klingon.

According to the story, the play “runs an hour and 20 minutes and includes three fight scenes, 17 actors with latex ridges glued to their foreheads and a performance delivered entirely in Klingon—a language made up for a Star Trek movie ... For those not fluent in Klingon, English translations are projected above the stage.”

While the story has been adapted to reflect the Klingon world view, they say that even though the vast majority of people don’t understand the language, they know what is going on because they know the story so well.

Sort of like opera.

While for a lot of people this is a kind of oddity, I think it speaks a lot about the branding power of “Star Trek,” which began as a TV series back in the late sixties, and has persisted as a cultural phenomenon reflected in five different TV series and 11 movies, with a twelfth on the way. We reference “Star Trek” a lot here on MNB, and inevitably we get emails from the most unlikely places, from people who are fellow fans. “Star Trek” remains relevant, in part, I think, because it refuses to engage in lowest-common denominator thinking. “Star Trek” has an optimistic world view, which appeals to millions of people.

And the extent of that relevance can be seen in Chicago, where a classic story is being enacted in a made-up language, and performed by actors portraying a species that once was portrayed as being the enemy, but later was seen as having its own kind of nobility, if only we could come to some sort of understanding with them. If only we could talk, and find common ground.

That strikes me as an optimistic message for this holiday season.

'Tlhlngan maH,” the phrase used in our headline, by the way, roughly translates to “We are Klingon!”
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