One Cube or Two?

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Plays and Skits
Title: One Cube or Two?
Author:
Dates: 1973
Location:
Type:
Focus: Star Trek: TOS
Troupe: fans from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
URL:
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From the newspaper article, reprinted in Black Oracle #7: The cast of "One Cube or Two?", left to right: Lt. Christine Chapel (Delia A. Schmidt), Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Steve Miller), Dr. Regina Florence (Joyce C. Rodey), Commander Spock (Doug Eader), ZaRaEl (Patty Wood), Ensign Chekov (Jeff Lustman), Captain James T. Kirk (Dennis P. O'Toole), Lt. Commander Brandy Hopkins (Dorothea J. Rau), Lt. Uhura (Denise Bennett), Lt. Riley (Brian Christiansen), JaMaLu (Morgan Hammac), VaBaDu (George Stover), Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott (Keith Braly) and the "Mad" Scientist of Pentorx 8 (Jonathan Rudacille). Not pictured is Black Oracle contributor Steve Vertlieb who furnished the voices of Avery Giffen and Records Officer Terry Tripup and who also appeared as the cured Coalatian VaBaDu. Photo by Michael L. Cohn.
From the newspaper article, reprinted in Black Oracle: VaBaDu the Coalatian Emissary, portrayed by Black Oracle editor and pub
lisher George Stover, poses with the authors of "One Cube or Two?" who also
served as actresses in the play. Left to right, Dorothea J. Rau as Lt. Com
mander Brandy Hopkins, Joyce C. Rodey as Dr. Regina Florence and Delia A. 
Schmidt as Lt. Christine Chapel. Photo by Bill Coarts.
the original color photograph

One Cube or Two? was a fan-created Star Trek: TOS play.

Part of it was performed at Star Trek Lives! (convention) in February 1973, and the entirety of it was performed at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus on the 16th, 17th, and 18th of March 1973.

Some fannish lore appears to have described this play as a fan film, but it was never filmed, and only had three performances in March 1973. [1]

A Similar Play

See Star Date 3113.7, a fan-produced 1971 play.

One Description

Baltimore recently played host to a rather unique stage production. ONE CUBE OR TWO?, a musical comedy satire, based on tv's STAR TREK, was performed at the University of Maryland's Baltimore County Campus, March 16-18, for the benefit of Retinitis Pigmentosa. Permission for this special charity play was readily given by ST's creator, Gene Roddenbcrry,and by Paramount Pictures to produce the production. Similarly, six different music publishers permitted a number of their songs to be especially re-written for the show. Yours truly, George Stover, played a cube-headed Coalation, an unfortunate victim of the mad scientist of Pentor 8, who thru the efforts of Captain Kirk and crew is finally transformed back to normal at the climax. — George Stover & Bill George [2]

An Excerpt from a 1973 Article

The play was described in detail in the 1973 newspaper article 'Star Trek' now an odyssey of the mind.

Among those attending the February convention was a delegation from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, who had gone a bit further than most Trekkies. They had written a new "Star Trek" entertainment, incorporating all the familiar characters and adding elements of gentle spoof and musical satire.

Begun as a joke some eight months before, the project bloomed into a full-scale production, sanctioned by the university, with proceeds to be donated to the Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation.

The three authors - Dorothea Rau, Joyce Rodey and Delia Schmidt - compiled the script from a series of scenes each had written. As a gag, they sent a copy to Gene Roddenberry, creator of the original "Star Trek" series. To their astonishment, Mr. Roddenberry liked the idea and Paramount Studios, which owns the rights to "Star Trek" copyrighted the script and gave the students permission to produce it.

A scene from the show was performed at the New York convention, and 
proved to be a hit. The girls were worried, however, that audiences less
 predisposed to adulation of anything remotely Trekkian might have a hard
time catching the esoteric references and jokes. They needn't have 
worried.

Playing to packed houses at the college last Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights,"One Cube or Two" was a boffo smash, and the mock-up of the; bridge of the Enterprise, with Federation regalia and suitably inscrutable aliens, would have drawn nods of approval from the "Great Bird of the Galaxy," as the original "Star Trek" production crew dubbed Mr. Roddenberry.

The UMBC production and the large number of non-pointed-eared, non-green-skinned Baltimoreans who turned out for it are indicators of the interest in the show that survives. Nine "Star Trek" books have been published in the last several years, fan magazines have sprung up and a corporation had to be created to handle the requests from all over the world for old scripts, production stills, props or just information. A perfectly serious 400-page tome was published, tracing the development and impact of the show with an attention to detail worthy of a doctoral dissertation.

"Star Trek Lives!" is the cry, and such serious devotion to a long-defunct television series is unprecedented. Rumors are abroad that NBC may give in to mounting pressure and revive the show. Paramount pleads budget limitations, but someone suggested that the fans produce the show; and indeed, if every Trekkie sent in a dollar the show could be revived overnight.

The original cast and crew seem to like the idea, though no one is committing himself prematurely. "We still get together and talk about the show," says one of Mr. Roddenberry's erstwhile assistants, "and that's never happened with any other show I've worked on. There was a spirit there that lasts. And the public obviously wants it back."

Whether or not new "Star Trek" episodes are ever made, the fans will continue to argue over whether the colonists in "This Side of Paradise" (many episode titles were taken from Shakespeare; no comment from the estate of F. Scott Fitzgerald on this one, however) were flooded with Ber-thoyd rays or zenite rays. And debate will continue over the validity of Ensign Chekov's assertion that matter-anti-matter warp drive was actually invented by a "little old lady in Leningrad." (The character of Chekov was inserted in the show after the then-Soviet ambassador to the U.S. complained to Mr. Roddenberry that there would undoubtedly be some Russians in the crew of a starship from the "United Federation of Planets." Mr. Roddenberry agreed, and Chekov was born. The ambassador remained a fan.)

Whatever the future brings, all the Trekkies, the Isaac Asimovs as well as the Dorothea Raus, Joyce Rodeys and the Delia Schmidts, will maintain their loyalty to the Starship Enterprise, as it hurtles through the galaxy, fearlessly splitting both atoms and infinitives.. ("Its five year mission," intones the voice-over: "to seek out new life and new civilizations... to boldly go where no man has gone before") and not so incidentally soft-selling the message that humans are more important than machines even in the 23d century.

References

  1. "As a teenager, I remember hearing about a fan-created film entitled "One Cube or Two" featuring cube-headed aliens, and hearing at conventions about numerous other effects." -- from "The Influence of Star Trek on Television, Film and Culture," edited by Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III, 2008
  2. from a zine called "Castle of Frankenstein" #5, Summer 1973, see Castle of Frankenstein, the original zine has a photo with this caption:"In this publicity shot from the STAR TREK musical comedy satire, "One Cube or Two ?," Mr. Spock (Doug Eader) reads everyone's favorite magazine, while makeup artist Ed Litzlnger applies his pointed ears. At left, the Mad scientist of Pentorx 8 (Jonathan Rudacille) looks on. Further mind-boggling details on this spectacular stellar saga of the stage revealed below."