“My family are big fans of Sci-Fi, fantasy, and everything ‘geeky’,” music teacher and theatre director, Kimberly Charron says. “We attended the first Hal-Con last year, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and decided to make a yearly trek to the event.”
Although just two years old, Hal-Con is the biggest Sci-Fi convention in Atlantic Canada. This year’s edition, held over the November 12 weekend, attracted over 1500 participants to the Halifax World Trade and Convention Centre.
Along with booths selling memorablia, costumes contests, visits from cast members of iconic series and other convention activities, Charron decided Hal-Con needed a bit of drama.
This past spring during the Cape Breton University Dramagroup’s Elizabeth Boardmore One-Act Play Festival, she had directed a well received production of Kirsten Woodford’s original play, Earth’s Last Days (which Charron describes as ” a Sci-Fi Spoof/Romantic Comedy”).
“I was looking forward to HAL-CON,” Charron recalls, “and after the first performance of Earth’s Last Days I had a thought – it would be great to bring the play to an audience that would ‘get’ every Sci-Fi nod and joke in the play. Hal-Con is a non-profit organization, and we felt some means of contributing to the content would be beneficial. I asked Kristen for permission to go ahead, and she was delighted. So I asked the head organizers if they would like to see live theatre as one of the events, and they said yes! When I asked the cast and crew if they would like to participate, the majority were in favour.”
To get a full cast and set from the Cape Breton Region Municipality to Halifax, Charron says, she “worked at length, via email, over several months, with Lenny Langton, with the A/V crew. He took our stage design ideas and had them implemented, and made sure we had the lighting we needed, and some furniture for the set that wouldn’t fit in our mini-van. Our lights and sound crew was able to work in conjunction with the A/V crew at HAL-CON, and we had a great rehearsal session the night before.”
“We performed for an intimate audience at the World Trade and Convention Centre’s Grand Ballroom,” Charron says, describing their performance, “as expected, the audience loved it – they ‘got it’ and there was plenty of laughter. The organizers were glad we contributed to the stage design – apparently all the presenters who used the stage just loved its ‘character’.”
Charron and some of her cast also got to discuss acting techniques with actor JG Hertzler, who played the Klingon character, “Martok”, from the television series, Star Trek: Deep Space 9.
“(Convention organizers) also said they would like to see theatre at HAL-CON again, and to keep them posted on what we were up to. HAL-CON has definitely kept the door open,” Charron says, “I have a few ideas I’m mulling over, so we’ll see.”