Star Trek actress Marina Sirtis will make her West End debut in sci-fi play Dark Sublime at Trafalgar Studios from June 25-August 3, having found fame as Counsellor Deanna Troi in 1990’s cult show Next Generation for all seven years of its TV run plus four feature films.
The Hackney-born actress portrays fading actress Marianna, who starred in 1980s sci-fi show Dark Sublime, and the play confronts the issues of where reality and fiction collide when fan Ollie tracks her down.
Ollie is played by newcomer Kwaku Mills, and the 2018 RADA graduate hailed the help given by Sirtis throughout the production.
Kwaku said: ‘She has been amazing to work with, she’s been so down to earth, this is only my third play since graduating, and so I’m still completely learning.
‘She’s been great taking me under her wing
‘It’s really lovely to be going through this together and obviously she’s got a great understanding of science-fiction and how it works.
‘I assumed it had been written for her, but when it came to the first day of rehearsals I found out it was a complete coincidence.’
The play will also feature the voice of Doctor Who favourite Mark Gatiss.
Kwaku admitted that he enjoyed the opportunity to delve back into sci-fi shows of the past, and was amazed at how far they had come over the past 30 years.
He said: ‘It’s a really specific genre in itself and a period of that genre, sci-fi shows aren’t like that now, what we have now didn’t really exist back then.
‘(Writer) Michael Dennis is an absolute sci-fi fan and a child of those times so on the first day of rehearsals we watched a compilation of TV from that time, and it was so interesting to go back in time like that.
‘It is essentially like filmed theatre, when you watch it you notice just how different it is and how much the whole genre has changed. I have really tried to immerse myself in that cultural landscape of the 80s.’
Kwaku also relished the challenge of confronting themes that have become increasingly prevalent in everyday life.
He said: ‘We have this massive celebrity cultural now and we all have this sense where we feel we know someone because they are in our living room every day.
‘In the play, we essentially ask the question can you truly be friends with a fan?
‘It is these two worlds colliding, this fantasy idea and the real person, it’s really interesting to analyse it from another perspective.’
Through the play we also learn of a lesbian love triangle involving Marianne.
He added: ‘I think it is really important to show diversity in the stories we are telling about minority groups
‘LGBT stories can sometimes only focus on men or younger people and obviously there all sorts of people who identify differently and to see that on stage is amazing.
‘More plays like this in the west end and more visibility can only be a really good thing, especially during Pride Month.
‘It isn’t a play about a lesbian love story. Often minority experiences retold on stage can be about suffering, and actually it is okay and they are just talking bout love in the same way every human does.
‘You don’t have to be tortured to be LGBT and I think that is important to recognise.’
WHAT: Dark Sublime
WHERE: Trafalgar Studios
WHEN: June 25-August 3