MUSE speaks with One Man Star Wars

One Man Star Wars Trilogy is the brainchild of Canadian native Charlie Ross. Since its conception in 2001, the show has been on tour across the globe, taking notable stops off Broadway, at the Edinburgh Fringe festival and a short stint in Hong Kong. Along the way Star Wars fans, as well as Lucas Films, have been supportive of Ross’ creativity. The solo performance is a 60-minute portrayal of George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy embellished with humorous anecdotes and impersonations. Though the source material is over 30 years old, Star Wars still resonates with fans around the world, and Charlie Ross has only added to that diverse galaxy far, far away.

MUSE had a chance to catch up with Mr. Ross and figure out what it takes for one man to create his take on this beloved trilogy. One Man Star Wars will be performed by Ross at the Mondavi Center Nov. 30 at 8 p.m.

MUSE: What was your original inspiration for One Man Star Wars?
Ross: Back in 1994, I worked for a series of actor troupes that did tours around Canada. My buddy, who would later become my director, also worked in one of these companies. We realized the most successful shows always turned out to be the solo performances. One in particular, run by a friend of mine, performed a one man Captain Kirk from “Star Trek.” At that point we were all fans of Star Wars and one day all three of us were playing frisbee and we decided that before you could throw the frisbee you had to say a line from one of the original movies. Before someone could catch, they’d have to say the next line. We went on playing this for a few hours and were unable to stump each other. That’s when I realized Star Wars was really ingrained in our society. If I wanted to truly interact with an audience Star Wars was ideal.
How did you decide to organize the movies into three minutes?
I sat down at a computer and felt whatever I could remember a general fan would remember. Depending [on] where I am in the world I’ve had to adjust certain things. In some countries words or jokes might not mean the same or have the same impact with the audience. No matter what I’ve done the fans have always been supportive.
How did the show develop over the years?
We’ve performed the show over a thousand times across the globe. In that run the core of the show has stayed relatively the same. I have swapped jokes and had to adjust depending on where I’m performing. The shows evolved; it began much longer and I’ve cut it down to be more engaging and memorable.
How has your interaction with the Star Wars fan base been?
Going into the project I didn’t know how the fan base would react to my work. Originally I didn’t know what I was going to do with the concept and over time ended up finding out what I was doing. I’ve always been happy to have them. I’ve gotten to know certain groups, most notably, the 501st — a group of people who dress up like stormtroopers and have been extremely supportive of my work. It has helped that Lucas Films has been on my side from the very beginning.
How do you feel about Star Wars being purchased by Disney?
It is amazing that Disney will be looking after the Star Wars universe. I feel they’ll keep it going and expand it with new life. I’ve always paid a licensing fee so I see no problem with my personal work in the future.
How did you decide to choose Davis?
Northern California is the heart of Star Wars. With the Lucas ranch just around the corner, unlike anywhere else, Northern California knows Star Wars.
To see the trailers for One Man Star Wars, visit onemanstarwars.com. Tickets are available at the Mondavi box office for the Nov. 30 show, or you can purchase them online at mondaviarts.org.
BEAUGART GERBER can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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