Written and performed by Charles Ross
Assembly George Square Studios
Canadian actor Charles Ross made his UK debut with his hilarious show, One Man Star Wars™ Trilogy, at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and over the last decade, it has become firmly established as a Fringe favourite.
For 12 nights only this year, Ross once again offers the opportunity to relive the classic first three Star Wars™ movies, as he plays all the characters, sings the music, flies the ships, fights the battles and condenses the plots into just sixty minutes!
Originally conceived as a five-minute comedy sketch, One Man Star Wars™ Trilogy, written and performed by Ross and directed by TJ Dawe, rapidly developed into a worldwide hit after its Toronto Fringe debut in 2002. Early success in North America resulted in appearances on popular TV programmes such as The Today Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, an off-Broadway run in New York in 2005 and an official licensing deal with Lucasfilm Ltd.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS PERFORMANCE?
> Celebrating the nerdy, unabashed, love of the original Star Wars trilogy- plus combating the eternal threat of unemployment (a fate reality most actors face).
> HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT GATHERING THE TEAM FOR IT?
>I was working on a radio play with two actor/writer friends (both in a similar situation in their careers), we had arranged to present this radio play to a live audience. The three of us decided to flesh out the evening of entertainment by doing some comedy sketches, and my solo Star Wars just one of the bits from the evening. I rehearsed and work-shopped the performance for a couple of hours, using my friends as a sounding board. When I tried it out in front of the audience, on the arranged evening, it went spectacularly for an under-planned product.
> HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN MAKING PERFORMANCE?
> It was the easiest way to not get kicked out of class during grade school. In my senior school years I was overjoyed to take actual drama classes for school credit. Solo performing came about due to purely practical reasons, in that it’s easier to plan one’s own life rather than two or three people’s.
> WAS YOUR PROCESS TYPICAL OF THE WAY THAT YOU MAKE A PERFORMANCE?
>Not at all. It started from my script (which was basically the film’s lines adapted and abbreviated) then I improvised on my feet, sans script, and tried to create physical bits where I’d try to be everything from aliens to space ships. I used my script as a framework to venture out from and edited the adaptation as I saw fit. Some things worked better than others, and I did this in front of my friends (whatever they laughed at stayed, what they didn’t react to was cut.) The whole process was cobbled together from various rehearsal processes I’d used before, along with some new techniques that were made up on the spot.
> WHAT DO YOU HOPE THAT THE AUDIENCE WILL EXPERIENCE?
> I hope they’ll be reminded of the films and their own experience (whether intense or not) of seeing them for the first time. By my style of performance, I hope that people are reminded of the unbridled exuberance of childhood, where imagination ruled supreme and you could be anything you wanted to.
> WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU CONSIDER TOWARDS SHAPING THIS AUDIENCE EXPERIENCE?
> The only strategy I employed was one of letting go of my inner critic and learning to trust that people would be able to pick up what I was laying down.
> DO YOU SEE YOUR WORK WITHIN ANY PARTICULAR TRADITION?
> Other than children playing on the school ground, perhaps the Bard story telling tradition. I’m telling a story that most every knows, but it’s how I choose to retell it, my style, that makes this a one man Star Wars trilogy.
A sold-out month at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2006 launched the show in Europe and led to a West End run at the Garrick Theatre, which saw to London’s Leicester Square being invaded by Star Wars™ stormtroopers and Ross being interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today show.
Since then, One Man Star Wars™ Trilogy has taken Ross around the world. He reckons he has performed the show more than 4,000 times in 500 cities across four continents, from the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin to the Sydney Opera House, the sands of Dubai to the muddy fields of the Glastonbury Festival and of course, official Star Wars™ Celebrations in the UK and the US.
If you’ve seen this quickfire show before, come back and catch the jokes you missed the first time around. If you haven’t ever seen it, you’re in for a treat – The Force is strong with this one!
One Man Star Wars™ Trilogy performed with permission of Lucasfilm Ltd. All ‘Star Wars’ elements property of Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.
Venue: Assembly George Square Studios, EH8 9LH Time: 20.00 Running Time: 60mins
Dates: 3-14 August. Previews 3-5 August. Tickets: Previews £10; 6-9, 12-14 Aug £16; 10-11 Aug £14.
Bookings: assemblyfestival.com, 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly Roxy, Assembly George Square and Assembly Checkpoint