Thursday, May 7, 2009

One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, Cleveland Play House

(An uncharacteristically serious-looking Charles Ross, with a lightsaber prop he doesn't use during his performance.)

Hi Bryn,

Boy, do I wish you were with me last night at the Cleveland Play House! As the leading 7-year-old expert on all things Star Wars, at least within our family, you would have been a great help in digging out the small details of this delightful show.

I remember seeing the original flick when it came out, five years after your mom was born, in 1977. And I was blown away by all of it, particularly the idea that if space ships were used daily, they would start to look as battered and dusty as the car in my driveway. (Up to that time, all spaceships looked sparkling and pristine.)

A couple years later I saw the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, and I thought it was good but I never even saw Return of the Jedi, probably because of some mixed reviews. (Yes, I read reviews because I know how wise and insightful critics are.)

This all proves that I am not the best audience for One-Man, since a real Star Wars fan like you will pick up far more of the film references that rush by in this fast-paced hour-long production.

Standing on a bare stage in a black jumpsuit with no props, Charles Ross performs all the elements of the three movies that make up the trilogy starting with the original epic, Episode IV: A New Hope (see, I didn’t even know that film had a subtitle that was added later, to help keep all the sequels and prequels straight).

And when I say Ross does everything, I’m not kidding. He acts out the scrolling type at the start of each film, the music, the droids, the space battles, the hand-to-hand combat, and most of the characters. His Jabba the Hutt is hilarious, whether you saw the film or not, as is his depiction of the Imperial Walkers.

It’s all done tongue-in-cheek (ask your father), but he never gets nasty and makes fun of the movies or those that love them, such as you my dear. While covering the key plot points, Ross notes some problems in continuity. For instance, there’s one character who pronounces the Princess’s name “Lee-ah,” not “Lay-ah”. If you had been there, you could have reminded me who that was.

One-Man is enjoyable for darn near everyone, just because of Ross’s energetic presence and his finely tuned sense of goofiness. And he talks directly to the audience at times, as himself, giving the whole show a relaxed and friendly feel.

I really think you would have had a blast last night, Bryn, as did several kids I saw in the audience. Maybe we can see it the next time Ross brings his traveling Star Wars show to New Jersey.

Anyhow, live long and prosper. (Oops, sorry, that’s Star Trek.)

I love you,

Grandma Chris

One-Man Star Wars Trilogy
Produced as part of FusionFest
at the Cleveland Play House, through May 10,
8500 Euclid Avenue, 216-795-7000

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