CityRep closes out its 12th season with the Oklahoma premiere of One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, the off-Broadway hit created by and starring Charles Ross.
In a single hour, Ross retells a condensed version of all three original Star Wars films, performing every character, singing the music, flying the ships and acting out the epic struggle between the valiant Rebel Alliance and the evil Galactic Empire.
The show came to the attention of CityRep’s Artisitic Director Don Jordan during its successful run in Chicago and at fringe festivals around the country.
“To me, this show is a comic valentine to the original film trilogy,” Jordan said. “Anyone who enjoys live professional theater will embrace the remarkable performance of this unique theatrical experience.”
One-Man Star Wars has its roots in the childhood obsession of creator and star Charles Ross, who spent untold hours watching — and rewatching — the original films.
Ross said the desire to do theater came out of a natural drive to entertain, coupled with the discovery of another powerful force: laughter.
“I was quite a chubby kid,” Ross said. “Making people laugh at something I said or did, rather than laughing at my weight, was also a motivating factor. Of course, when I lost that weight, the love of performing was stronger than ever.”
When it came time to choose what to include in One-Man Star Wars, Ross’ limited memory did much of the adapting for him.
“I sat at a computer with John Williams’ score playing in the background and tried to retell Star Wars using only dialogue,” he said. “The characters are my main focus — their idiosyncrasies, their dialogue and their story arcs. Beyond the special effectinduced space spectacle is a little story. I’m tasked with being both the Death Star and Jabba the Hutt. The latter of the two is way more fun.”
While similar theatrical productions have successfully skirted copyright issues, Ross’ fear that he might be pursued by a battalion of Lucasfilm lawyers once seemed like a real possibility in 2003, when the company got in touch with Ross during his Chicago performances.
“They were interested in the show’s quality,” Ross said. “After I did it for them, they decided not to feed me to the Rancor monster.”
As for what makes Star Wars such an enduring modern myth, Jordan said that the key lay in Lucas’ adaption of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey.”
“We are a species with a unique storytelling ability and need,” Jordan said. “It’s an escape for the average person to daydream about. And for the downtrodden, it’s an inspiration. Plus, there’s all the lightsabers, lasers and spaceships, which are just awesome.”