By Alison Baumgartner
What do you do when you grow up only owning three movies on VHS in Northern Canada and one of them is Star Wars? You use your superfandom to develop a play — acted out by only yourself — that retells the classic Star Wars trilogy in 60 madcap minutes with no costumes, props or sets and you title it One Man Star Wars, of course. (It was either that or One Man Blue Lagoon, and I think we can all agree, Star Wars was the better choice.)
Over the 16 years since Charlie Ross put on a 20-minute version in a small comedy club, he has performed One Man Star Wars on nearly every continent. Fans have truly fallen in love with his wacky rendition of the much-beloved trilogy — one couple even asked him to perform the show at their wedding.
But it is not only the fans who applaud One Man Star Wars. Lucas Films also have deemed the show worthy of their coveted registered trademark. When Lucas Films found out about Ross’ show, they asked for video footage and a copy of Ross’ script, which he relinquished. After reviewing it, they adored it so much that they asked him to perform the show at a Star Wars convention. “It was a geeky rock-star moment, ” said Ross in an interview on TVNZ 1’s Good Morning, reflecting on going from shows that had at most 200 people to a stage in front of over 4, 000 hard-core Star Wars fans.
“I had no idea that I’d still be lucky enough to be performing this 16 years later, ” Ross says in an interview with The Lincoln Center. “I think because of the power of the Star Wars brand, and the fact that new generations of fans are continually born, I’ve had some staying power. Star Wars is always relevant, it has the power to inspire kids to dream big — look at me: I’m a big kid and still loving Star Wars.”
From Jabba the Hutt to R2D2, Ross plays about 46 characters in the show. When asked if he still has difficulty keeping in character for so many parts, he says “I have no trouble, especially after all of these years, keeping things straight in my head. However, if I have to perform my Star Wars show in Ohio one night and then my Lord of the Rings show in Florida the next night- that is a different story. I have trouble remembering my own name, which makes me understand Gollum in a whole new way.”
You can see all 46 characters from all three movies performed by one incredibly talented man at The Lincoln Center February 9th, 2017. Tickets, starting at $15, are available here.