Omaha’s Apollon Art Space to feature ‘Dinner with the Doctors (Who)’ production in March

Apollon

Doctor Who will be taking his TARDIS to the play at Omaha’s Apollon Art Space.

Jump in the TARDIS and travel through time for “Dinner with the Doctors.” We’re excited about checking out this show at the Apollon Art Space beginning March 16. The play combines scripted performances mixed with some improvisation.

This is an original script written by Lauren Bonk of Kearney. Lisa and I know Lauren through our blogging adventures. So, how did someone in Kearney become involved with writing a play for an Omaha theater?

“Last fall, Ryan (Tewell with Apollon Art Space) put out a call for writers on Facebook for their upcoming ‘Doctor Who’ show,” Bonk said. “The Apollon does themed dinners a few times a year, and I’ve always been curious about them, but had never had the opportunity to attend. I love writing, I love theatre, and I love, love, love ‘Doctor Who,’ so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to mix the things I love into a fun, creative endeavor.”

The advertising tease says revelers from the galaxy meet to celebrate “Doctor Who.” Aliens from several planets converge for the celebration. Allegedly, someone knows how to summon the Doctor, himself, to attend. When something goes awry, play goers will have to help the Doctor repair the TARDIS, so he can repair time and space. Or, will this be the end of the galaxy?

The play runs over two weekends – March 16-18 and March 23-25. The Apollon Art Space has a small theater, with room for 40 people during the performances. Tickets include dinner. Dinner will feature a Doctor Who theme, and Chef Isiah Renner has created a menu based on the show.

Since she was writing a play based on a popular television program, how did Bonk ensure she remained true to its formula?

“…You’ve got to force yourself to really dig into the spirit of it,” she said. “You’ve got to ask yourself a few questions. For me, those questions were, ‘Why do I love this show so much?’ and ‘What is it about this character that speaks to me in a way that has me ugly-crying into my mug of tea every few episodes?’

“After a while I realized that those things were: the promotion of non-violence, the high value of art and intellectualism, trying to find value in any being you encounter, being fierce and loyal in your friendships, and, above all, having hope. My goal is for the audience members to leave this night of fantasy, fun, and teamwork with a lighter, more hopeful feeling in their hearts. We all need a break from the “real world” sometimes, and we all need a reminder that we’re in this together, regardless of our home planets.”

Five actors will take on roles from the War Doctor to the Tenth Doctor. Omaha’s plethora of cosplayers provided a decent base of actors to choose from during auditions, Bonk said.

Joshua Caito will perform as the Tenth Doctor (portrayed on TV by David Tennant). Caito is a well-known cosplayer and has a striking resemblance to Tennants’s character. He’s portrayed the character for three years as a cosplayer at conventions, as well as for charity, including handing out comic books with Midwest Team Hooman.

“I really love David Tennant’s portrayal as The Doctor and happen to have the eye brows for it,” Caito said.

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Joshua Caito as the Tenth Doctor Who. He has been involved with cosplay as the Doctor for three years.

Play producers reached out to see if he might be interested in playing The Doctor in the show. “I immediately said yes,” Caito said.

A “Whovian (‘Doctor Who’ fan) for four years (he says a baby Whovian), Caito thinks fans will enjoy the show. “We’re a fun fan base.”

Joining Caito on stage will be another friend of ours. William Newman (“Newman” to me. “Seinfeld” reference) was cast as the War Doctor. Caito recommended Newman for the role.

“I’m just now going on my second year playing the War Doctor at various conventions,” Newman said. “I began considering it after the airing of the “Doctor Who” special 50th anniversary episode entitled ‘The Day of the Doctor.’  In that episode the great actor, Sir John Hurt, played a special incarnation of the Doctor known to series fans as the War Doctor.  The character he played was grizzled, gray and sported a goatee, which pretty much played to my looks, so it seemed to be a good fit.”

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William Newman (with his wife Linda) cosplays as the War Doctor. The Newmans also participate in Steampunk cosplay.

New to acting, Newman knows the wardrobe is fine.

“Getting down the voice inflections and mannerisms of John Hurt as the War Doctor is the hard part,” Newman said. “Let’s just say I’m spending a lot of time watching and listening to his performances these days to try and come as close as I can.  The fact that the character only appeared in the one episode is both good and bad as it leaves me a lot of latitude in how the character responds to the events in the play, but on the flip side it doesn’t give me a lot of material to use to help perfect my version of the character. ”

Newman’s affection for “Doctor Who” dates back to the 1970s and ‘80s when episodes aired on PBS.

“I liked the premise of a time traveling alien who is just interested in meeting new people, learning about the universe, trying to right wrongs, and advocating for non-violent solutions to problems and disagreements.  It’s also fun because it never takes itself too seriously.”

Cast and crew seem ready to have some fun with the show, which is being produced with in partnership with British Fest. We’re excited to attend opening night March 16. Lisa’s dad and step-mom will be joining us, as her dad is a solid “Whovian.” We hope to see you there. For more information and to make dinner show reservations, please visit www.apollonomaha.com/doctorwho.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Apollon for the show tickets for opening night. However, all opinions and views are ours.