One Man Star Wars: Performer brings The Force to AdrianWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
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A long time ago (about 30 years) in a galaxy far, far away (Hawaii), a young Canadian boy named Charles Ross was taken to a theater by his father to see “Star Wars” for the first time. Actually, he saw two movies that day — they were showing a double feature of the original film and “The Empire Strikes Back.”
“But he didn’t tell me that it wasn’t the end of the story. I was convinced that the sort of lame tone left over at the end of ‘Empire Strikes Back’ was the way the story actually ended. And I was like, ‘What a bummer of a story!’ I was really angry at George Lucas for doing that,” Ross said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star.
His dad did eventually tell him that another movie was still on the way, and thus a lifelong fandom of “Star Wars” began in earnest — one which has manifested itself in the show that Ross performs, “One Man Star Wars Trilogy.” He will be at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian, Mich., on April 21.
“It’s basically me onstage — with no costumes, sets, props or real talent —me, onstage, retelling the original, bad hair, 1970s-1980s ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, basically using my own body and my own impressions,” Ross said.
“It’s really a tongue-in-cheek homage to ‘Star Wars.’ It’s probably as close to watching an 8-year-old kid pretending to be all the characters in ‘Star Wars,’ except that I’m trapped in a 37-year-old body.”
Ross’ familiarity with the films — or at least the first one — extends back to his childhood growing up on a farm in western Canada, far from the range of conventional television signals. If he wanted to watch TV as a kid, he had to watch a videotape.
“So, I had the first ‘Star Wars’ film recorded off of television from before we moved up there, we had ‘The Blue Lagoon’ with Brooke Shields, if you ever saw that film — and be happy I don’t do the ‘One Man Blue Lagoon’ — and the other film was actually the miniseries ‘Shogun,’ which had Richard Chamberlain in it. It was something like an eight- or nine-part miniseries, and it was missing the last 20 minutes of the final episode. And I never had any idea how it ended! Once more, I just thought it was a bummer of an ending.”
As a result, whenever Ross wanted to watch TV, he watched “Star Wars” — over and over again. Four-hundred times before he was 10, by his count. And as an adult, his familiarity and love for the film led to the idea to perform it onstage himself.
“It was sort of a slow process. I ended up trying to do the first film — it ended up being about 25 minutes, sort of like a comedy sketch, just to see if people would get it. And I was surprised at how much people got out of the 25-minute thing.”
The positive response led to Ross developing the full show with director TJ Dawes as a full, one-hour, one-man show — 20 minutes per film in the trilogy.
“It was perfect; I started to tour this on the fringe theater festivals,” Ross said. “I was able to tour it around America and around Canada, and basically tap into all the fandom of ‘Star Wars.’”
That’s when LucasFilm first heard of the show.
“They were completely intrigued, because I wasn’t using any artwork from ‘Star Wars,’ I wasn’t selling ice cream bars with my face on it — it was just simply one guy, three films, on a stage, and celebrating the love of all things ‘Star Wars.’ So they were totally up the alley of letting me keep doing it.”
Ross performs with the full permission of LucasFilm and said he is genuinely thrilled to get the chance to share his love of “Star Wars” with audiences.
“The weird thing is, I never set out for this to be the case. It’s odd to think that I kind of arrived at that place, having never actually set out to arrive at that place. It was something where it was kind of a lucky mistake, or a bit of a fluke.”
Tags: Adrian, Brooke Shields, Charles Ross, Croswell Opera House, George Lucas, Jeff McGinnis, One Man Star Wars Trilogy, Pop Goes the Culture, Richard Chamberlain, Shogun, Star Wars, The Blue Lagoon, The Empire Strikes Back