Sunday, July 10, 2011

Not a Girl, Not Yet a Doctor

Last week, I helped to do a press release for the upcoming shows. One of the things that I forgot to mention, which director Joy added, was that Star Trek in the Park is unique in that casting is done without regard to gender or physical appearance.

Some of this can be attributed to Gene Roddenberry's original vision: he believed in a future without racial or gender inequality, where the differences between people aren't even noticed, so it seems conceivable that traditionally "male" and "female" character traits would not necessarily correspond with a character's biological gender. But this presents a very interesting puzzle when thinking about how to portray such a character.

So I asked wondered, is the Dr. McCoy that I am playing male or female? On the one hand, perhaps, it should not matter- the character dwells in a world without gender norms. On the other hand, it is a fundamental piece of identity in current society, one that the audience will be either trying to determine or assuming. In the end, I made a choice, but I spent the majority of my focus on Dr. McCoy's medical training and American Southern heritage. Dr. McCoy remains plainspoken, something of a hedon, but kindly and affectionate and loyal. I hope that that remains most memorable, and if the audience chooses to wonder, I will be proud if I have achieved that level of ambiguity. It seems like something Gene would have gotten a kick out of.

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