Epic Win Burlesque presents The Star Debate: Trek vs. Wars
nytheatre.com review by Ed Malin
August 20, 2011
Two men, one wearing a Starfleet Admiral uniform and the other wearing a Death Star Officer uniform, discuss the merits of the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises. In between their statements, women enter in sci-fi costume, dance, remove most to all of their clothes, and exit. An assistant, dressed as a fuzzy Ewok, rushes to remove bras, panties and gloves from the stage between these numbers. At the end, the moderator measures audience applause to decide the winner: Trek or Wars.
To summarize the arguments, Star Trek is a caring, intellectual community which has changed science fiction and is free of the tyranny of one author’s perspective on the universe. On the other hand, Star Wars is a ubiquitous cultural phenomenon on a large scale, equivalent to modern mythology or religion, whatever one may think of the two-dimensional characters and bad authorial choices in the second, made-for-children set of movies. The two debaters (Nelson Lugo and Schaffer The Darklord) appear to be on quite good terms. They laugh at each other’s jokes, and often at their own. The crowd goes wild watching a variety of stripteases (“Each performance of the Star Debate features different cast members”) which exceeded my expectations for a bona fide strip club, let alone FringeNYC on a Saturday afternoon. For example, Mary Cyn entered dressed as the awkward android Mr. Data, then removed her clothes, while Nasty Canasta, wearing nothing but a wig and clutching two large feather fans, danced to the evil Imperial March.
This debate has been going on for decades, including at some conventions I’ve attended. It can be enjoyable for a few minutes. Certainly, compared with years ago, there are many more female fans. I will leave it up to the audience to decide whether the talented ladies are contributing to the debate or whether they really just came to watch the strip show. Depending on your culture of origin, you may find such performances liberating and necessary. As in Star Trek, where the logical Vulcans lost their minds once every seven years so they could reproduce. One of the dances, by Victoria Privates, was on just this theme.