Star Trek Indiana is a one-man act written and performed by Ben Livingston, which shows us the ability for a family’s bond to remain in tact, even when divided between two opposite cultures spanning almost the entire continous United States.
The setting is rural Indiana, and Ben has traveled back to his hometown from Hollywood to attend a family pig roast.
Upon arrival, he is reunited with some of his near distant relatives. Each member is theatrically portrayed by Ben, though he insists that they are accurate to an extent.
His aunt’s character was “a combination of two different aunts and a cousin,” he said. One of the characters was not real, though he wouldn’t state which one.
Every act is an anecdotal event that is shaped by either the character’s view of an account, or the character alone.
Each story is complete in itself, from Ben’s tell-all tale of the first time he did ecstasy, to how a security guard finds an alien’s ability to beam down to earth a major perimeter breach. However, each one is incomplete without the last, and they all come together to form a hilarious, captivating, and ultimately touching performance.
Ben described his production as the product of an acting class exercise that “started as a five minute monologue and just grew from there to a 20 minute deal.” Continual additions eventually gave way to the complete two hour magnum opus.
The play frequently makes references to an episode of Star Trek Voyager in which Ben played an alien creature with debatable species affiliation. Some believe he was a lizard-like creature, others say fish, but I believe it was “el Chupacabra” after many centuries of evolution.
Though Star Trek Voyager is a recurring element in Star Trek Indiana, it would be an exercise in futility to try and find a direct correlation between the two. The latter only draws on the former for comical direction.
It’s an interesting feeling, sitting in the Write Act Repertory Theatre located on church grounds, listening to Ben’s portrayal of his hip-hop cousin running his motor mouth on high octane.
Not all venues have been so lenient.
Ben described one time in particular at the Houston Museum of Fine Art where he was asked to tone down what Spok best described as “colorful metaphors” in Star Trek 4.
Ben said a woman came up to him five minutes before the show started and said everybody was excited to see the play, but requested that there be no profanities.
As a result, Ben said he had to adlib all sorts of goofy improvisations instead.
Star Trek Indiana is a hearty, hysterical, and wholesome piece that deserves to be seen by everybody with a sense of humor and appreciation for local theatre.
More dates have been added, the show will play on April 3rd, 10th, and 17th at 4pm. Student tickets are $10, parking is free.
One could say that Ben Livingston is the Renaissance man of B-list actors. He has been featured in movies such as Dracula, Dead and Loving It and Bruce Almighty. He has also appeared in many television shows as well.
So bring your friends, bring your family, or just bring yourself.
Either way, the experience will be a memorable one. It will be the kind that’ll have you holding back laughter while you explain to your friends that you were actually attending a great theatre presentation, and not a Star Trek convention in Indiana.