- One-Man Star Wars Trilogy
- By Charles Ross
- Produced by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
- Reviewed by Janice Cane
Right now at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, you can see three movies for $28. That’s actually a bargain. And you can see all three in just one hour! But if you’re like me, you might end up investing a few more dollars-and hours-later.
The movies in question are the original Star Wars-Episodes IV, V, and VI. “How,” you’re wondering, “can they be pared down to one hour total when Episode IV alone runs a solid two hours?” Well, they’re all performed by one guy, Charles Ross. And he has the energy of dozens of men … and a couple of droids … and a Wookiee … and a princess. In fact, Ross does so much leaping about and rolling around and countless other acrobatic endeavors that I went looking for Star Wars in the “Action” section of my local video store, rather than “Science Fiction.”
You see, I have seen each of the original Star Wars movies only once, quite a few years ago. So while I appreciated Ross’ talent and admired his incredible array of vocal sound effects (he could easily put on a one-man a cappella concert version), much of the humor of seeing a beloved, well-known film performed by one enthusiastic (self-proclaimed) nerd was lost on me.
“Why,” you’re wondering, “didn’t I rent the movies before I saw One-Man Star Wars Trilogy?” Because I wanted to see if someone more like me can enjoy the show as much as someone more like Ross. The answer, honestly, is no. But it was clear from the laughter around me that plenty of people can get plenty of kicks out of this show. And it did prompt me to go out and rent the movie again, so Ross must be doing something right. Watching the DVD, I found myself laughing more at Ross’s performance, in retrospect, than at the cheesy special effects and script playing out before me. His impressions are uncanny, and the lines he highlights-rather than glossing over with a quick “Exposition, exposition, exposition”-are well chosen.
Ross’ take is somewhat reverent-you have to really love the George Lucas films to even think of adapting them-but it’s mostly satirical. He often breaks character(s) to look out at the audience and poke fun at the material, and those were the funniest moments of the show for me. When he’s not whining as Luke Skywalker, grabbing his crotch as Han Solo, yodeling/groaning/yawning as Chewbacca, or whistling as R2-D2, Ross is channeling composer John Williams’ score … so much so that the various theme songs are still stuck in my head 48 hours later.
Ross first performed One-Man Star Wars Trilogy at Woolly Mammoth during the 2006 Capital Fringe Festival, and he could return again some day, but not necessarily with his C-3PO persona in tow-Ross also boasts a One-Man Lord of the Rings. I’d better head back to the video store.
- Running time: 1:00, no intermission)
- When: Playing through December 30 Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m
- Where Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 641 D St. N.W. Washington, DC.
- Tickets: $28 or $32. Call (202) 393-3939 or buy them here.