Takei Hopes Trek Fans Will See Him In 'Equus'By Michelle
October 26, 2005 - 9:45 PM
Although he says that some of his colleagues have not stopped fighting the role Star Trek has played in their lives, George Takei believes that his fame as Sulu will help bring fans to the theatre when he opens in Equus with the East West Players.
Although Takei has been involved with the Asian American theatre group for more than two decades, this is his first starring role for the company, he told the Los Angeles Downtown News. Takei will play psychiatrist Martin Dysart in a production running through December.
"I [was one of] the co-chairs of fundraising to move East West Players into this building," the actor explained. "We felt that it needed to be moved into a larger, mid-sized venue. I happened to be a preservationist...we found this building that was abandoned and crumbling." The building, he added, was where Christian Asian-Americans had been assembled to be taken to internment camps during World War II, when Takei was taken from Wilshire to a camp in Arkansas.
Though his return to California was traumatic, in a terrible neighborhood, Takei remains an urbanist at heart. "L.A. is still a city that we can participate in giving shape and form to," he explained. "I'm a civic busybody." This is why he has never appeared onstage with the theatre group before. "But when [EWP Producing Artistic Director] Tim Dang called...I said, let me look at my calendar. It is such a dimensioned, full, bloody, tortured role. It's great actor bait, and Tim dangled it in front of me."
Though Star Trek will always be a part of his life, Takei noted, "to be associated with a show like that as opposed to some brainless action thing or comedy, I'm proud of it." He thinks it is a mixed blessing, because while he expects to sell theatre tickets to fans, he also believes that casting people have never stopped typecasting him. "Hopefully I'll be able to persuade you to believe I'm this very constrained but emotionally turbulent character on stage," he said. "I know that 'Star Trek' fans might come, but I hope with that first speech, I'll be able to persuade them to forget George Takei and see Martin Dysart.