Jun 25

Character Profile: Ms. Umqhat

I created a lot of characters for this show.  Some of them got cut even before the Yokohama show, and some got cut afterwards due to the major changes the show went through to become Fringe-ready.


One of the biggest character amputations was Ms. Umqhat, who was actually played by another actor (Dancer and Performance Artist Monique Van Kerkhof) in the Yokohama version, but was reduced to two mentions in the Fringe version.


Ms. Umqhat is hard to describe.  She was originally conceived as 39’s “Reintegration Counsellor” (a title which she loved).  She was there to help demonstrate just how alien the new Earth society was to what 39 knew.


In the originally version of the play, the scenes with her helped provide the structure of the piece, as well as giving 39 someone to talk to directly.


But Ms. Umqhat had ulterior motives.  As the avatar of the eccentric hyperintelligence The Waste of Space, she was tasked with recruiting 39 for another space voyage.  However, she first had to let him discover and realize that he could no longer fit in on Earth.



With Ms. Umqhat gone, the court-case structure that the play has now evolved.


I originally saw 39 as a constantly changing piece of Theatre that would use a new second actor, each playing a different character in each venue to which we toured the show (each show would emphasize 39’s relationship with a different character).  However, limited resources put the kibosh on that after Yokohama.  I still want to go back to that idea after the summer tour is finished.  My dream?  After touring and doing several different versions of the show, I’d like to collect all the other actors and do a 6+ hour version of the show (a la Seven Streams of the River Ota).  39 is a huge story, and even the 90-minute version we performed in Yokohama is just a tip of the iceberg.

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