One man in a galaxy far, far away
BEAVER CREEK – Charles Ross isn’t exactly proud that he’s seen the original “Star Wars” film more than 300 times. “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” he’s seen those considerably less. Maybe 25 times each. Still, he knows the ins and outs of the “Star Wars” trilogy well enough to have performed a one-man condensed version hundreds and hundreds of times over the last five years.”I don’t watch the films anymore,” said Ross, 31, who hails from British Columbia and first saw “Empire Strikes Back” in a theater in Hawaii with his father at around age 4. “I watched the film when I was a kid. Just the first one I’ve seen more than 300 times. I did all this before I was 11 years old. I believe I wasted a great amount of time. Any time you spend so much time in front of a little picture box … But, it’s taking something that was negative time spent and making something positive with it.”That something positive is Ross’s “One Man Star Wars Trilogy.” An actor by trade, Ross was brainstorming possibilities for job security many years ago, and half-heartedly threw out the idea of a one-man Star Wars theatrical performance.Hans – and the rest of the cast – solo”Like most good ideas, it didn’t strike me as a great idea at the time,” Ross said. “It was one of those things that came out in conversation, then it was on the backburner for like 10 years. It wasn’t a eureka moment. When I did try it, it was almost like an improv. But it’s had built-in momentum ever since.”
When asked what his performance is like, Ross says it is scenes, dialogue and sound effects from all three films chronologically, just as one would see them in the George Lucas originals, only whittled down to an hour. And it’s just him. No costumes. No props. No lasers. Just him. “It’s usually not what people are expecting,” he said. “They’re expecting me to come out there with a bunch of muppets and toys and synthesized sounds. They think I’ll do “Star Wars,” then after my show, I’ll run back home into the basement and turn on “Star Wars.”Interpretations of the creedRoss has seen the films enough for a lifetime, but he hopes his performance will last for years to come. It has captured the attention of Lucasfilm, which invited him to perform at its SciFi conventions. Ross has also made appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” the Craig Ferguson show and “The Today Show,” and had his show Off Broadway for almost six months in New York City. He’s also met, you could say, his share of “Star Wars” freaks.” wouldn’t call it a cult,” Ross said. “It’s beyond a religion and it’s beyond a cult. It’s an association, like being a member of a club. It’s a way that people are trying to find themselves in ‘Star Wars.’ There’s nothing quite so extreme as a ‘Star Wars’ fan.”Ross said because so many “Star Wars” fans view the films as their bible, not all of them like his one-man performance.
“To them, it’s a sacred thing. You don’t screw with it. But those people are impossible anyway,” Ross said. “But I love the films. I love them. I don’t think (‘One Man Star Wars’) pokes fun at them. If anything, it says, ‘these things are great.’ It’s a wink to the audience more than a sneer. The show comes from a place of love for ‘Star Wars.'”But Ross’s sense of love for the films doesn’t always match that of those who come to his performance. Some of his more memorable audience members have been those who have arrived clad in costume as storm troopers or Darth Vader. One time, a wedding party attended his performance directly after their “Star Wars”-themed ceremony.”That sounds extreme, but it was more for fun than anything else,” Ross said. “What was weird was that the groom was dressed as Boba Fett, the bride was dressed as Princess Leia and the best man was dress as Hans Solo. The idea was that (Boba Fett) and Princess Leia were having some sort of relationship while Hans Solo was turned into a popsicle between ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi.’ They had obviously given it some special thought. They were hilarious.”One Man Star Wars TrilogyWhat: a one-man reenactment comedy of the original “Star Wars” moviesWhen: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Vilar Center of the Arts in Beaver CreekInfo: Tickets are $28. They can be purchased at the box office or by calling 1-888-920-2787 or 970-845-TIXSStaff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado