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by Nicole Carlson » April 26, 2016
There are countless ways to complete an Honors Thesis, and Cole Remmen's not afraid to try something different. Remmen, a Theatre Arts major who will graduate summa cum laude this spring, has polished off his undergraduate studies with the completion of Boldly Go!—an original 19-song parody of Star Trek.
Remmen began writing the show in late 2013 with his brother, Grant—a UHP alumnus and now a PhD candidate in Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. After a year and a half of writing, the play went through workshops, public readings, and auditions both here at the U of M and in Pasadena, where Caltech’s Director of Theatre Arts took notice and offered to mount a full production of the show. Cole recently served as assistant director and performed in the role of Spock for the sold-out run at Caltech, which wrapped up on March 5th as the most popular show in the school's history. In two of the performances, actor Robert Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager joined the cast in a guest role. Picardo even featured the show in an episode of The Planetary Post, a monthly web series for the Planetary Society!
In order to be present for the production in California this spring, Remmen participated in a distance-supervised directed study, including multiple research projects in two different departments. He believes the supportive network within his major helped foster the creative exploration of his own ideas.
"I’ve been lucky to have great mentors and support from faculty in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance," he said. "They have mentored my independent research and UROP projects, allowing me to explore my interests and undertake exciting and diverse ventures in the theatre world."
Reflecting on his undergraduate career and the journey of this production, Remmen emphasized the importance of being dedicated to an idea. "My advice for fellow theatre students looking to see their work produced, or any student working on a huge independent project, is to really love whatever concept they are working on. If you want to see a project all the way through to production, it will take a lot of commitment and hard work, which means that you will be living in and exploring the world you're creating for a long time."
Starting ths fall, Remmen will be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara to pursue a PhD in Theater Studies. Boldly Go! has already received interest from several professional theatre companies in California and on the East Coast, and he hopes that the show can be brought to a theater in Minneapolis as well.