To boldly go where no Polly Esther has gone before…
During a one-night performance at the Social Capital Theatre last night, actor/playwright/comedienne Polly Esther took us along on a multi-media tour of her two-year voyage of exploration of the strange new world of the Star Trek series and movies in her one-woman show Dammit, Jim! I’m a Comedienne, Not a Doctor! Dammit, Jim! premiered in NYC at Solocom in November, 2015 with a 25-minute performance that has since been expanded for the Toronto premiere.
An autobiographical solo show, Polly describes meeting her sweetheart Chris, originally a Facebook friend, in person at Fan Expo Canada. Already a fan of the original Star Trek series, she was reluctant to take a look at any of the newer series and movies – although she admits to loving the J.J. Abrams prequel films – but Chris was gently persistent and eventually, Polly came to realize that she needed to know more about this world. And she goes for it big time, going all in as she hunkers down with Chris to rent the DVDs (from Queen Video), watching every series and every film in a two-year Star Trek marathon.
An enthusiastic, engaging and energetic storyteller, Esther charms and touches as she reveals her favourite characters (including Worf, Q, Lwaxana Troi, Morn and Tuvok) and moments, noting that – beyond the sometimes schlocky bits – Star Trek deals with some serious issues: war, racism, sex, gender, assault and alcoholism, among others. And her experience of the Star Trek world becomes even more heightened and solidified when she and Chris travel to the Las Vegas convention. While she’s having the time of her life meeting other fans, attending panel discussions and treating herself to oodles of merch, something happens. A recovering alcoholic who’s dealt with some other serious life-changing issues herself, she finds that the Star Trek universe, the convention and its fandom aren’t just about fun and insightful shenanigans in space, and the stuff of nerds. It’s about respect, acceptance and family. And she comes to realize that she has something in common with each of her favourite Star Trek characters – flawed, struggling and outspoken as they are.
In the end, what starts off as an innocent, fun-filled exploration of a beloved sci-fi series becomes an eye-opening personal discovery tour. With shouts to slide show master Chris MaGee.
The Star Trek universe according to Polly Esther in sassy fun, poignant and personal solo show Dammit, Jim! I’m a Comedienne, Not a Doctor!
This was a one night only performance at the Social Capital Theatre – but keep your eyes and ears peeled for Polly Esther in a galaxy near you.