The third annual Sci Fest L.A., billed as the world’s only science-fiction one-act play theater festival, is set to run from May 5-29 at the Acme Theatre in Los Angeles, and one of the plays will feature a popular Star Trek actor. Tim Russ, Star Trek: Voyager’s Tuvok, will star in Prayerville, written by Janis Ian, who’s not only Grammy winning songwriter of “At Seventeen” and “Society’s Child,” but an avid sci-fi fan and author.Prayerville casts Russ as Major Tomajanksi, retired, Global Alliance Army, who, in his younger days, ran wild through the galaxy. Now, sick and getting sicker, Tomajanski hopes to turn the once-honorable duty of returning the bodily remains of dead aliens into a for-profit business. Prayerville will premiere at Sci Fest L.A. on Thursday evening, May 5, and StarTrek.com caught up with Russ to discuss the project.
“It’s important to me to support Sci-Fest L.A. because I am a fan of science fiction, and because it’s live theater,” the actor said. “And small- to medium-sized theater needs all the help it can get here in Los Angeles.”
Russ described Prayerville as a meditation on spirituality, sacrifice and honor. The play has two parts, “one in which those virtues are not upheld, and the other half where they are,” he explained. “And the role of Tomajanski was interesting to me because of the character’s contrast to those virtues. He is an outwardly brash and arrogant character, lacking a moral compass… and he physically suffers for it.”Russ did not know when Prayerville came his way that Janis Ian had written it. It was a “surprise,” and a happy one, for him to discover that was the case.
“It’s very much a pleasant crossing of paths in the universe,” he said, “my growing up listening to her music, and now I am playing a role in a piece that she wrote.”
Many Trek fans are aware that Russ is a talented musician in his own right. He’s played shows all over the world, including many for the fans at Trek conventions. Russ, however, has never met Ian, much less played with her, though he’s hopeful that could change.
“I look forward to that experience perhaps during the run of the show,” Russ said. “Perhaps we can discuss that if and when we meet.”In addition to Janis Ian’s play, Sci Fest L.A. will stage pieces by authors Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker, and directed by acclaimed theatre and television director Gloria Muzio, as well as Jack Kenny. Among the other actors participating are Nelson Ascencio (The Hunger Games), Michael Shamus Wiles (The X-Files), Jasika Nicole (Fringe), Alan Polonsky (Aliens) and Angeline Rose Troy (The Sin Seer).
Tickets are on sale now for $26 and will be available through May 29, and can be purchased through the festival’s website. For more information and to buy tickets, go to www.sci-fest.com
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