| Charles Ross: Star struck
New York, Aug. 11 (Reuters): For those who have never seen the original Star Wars trilogy and can’t face six hours staring at a screen, a one-man show in New York recounts the whole story in under an hour.
Charles Ross, a 31-year-old actor from Canada who’s seen Star Wars 400 times, admits his show may be a surreal experience for anybody who does not know the three classic George Lucas films as well as he does.
Described as an “entertainingly nerdy show” in a Newsday review, the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy which opened this week is a fast-paced romp in which Ross plays every character from Luke Skywalker to Princess Leia, R2D2 to Han Solo.
Ross insists he hasn’t seen the films in full since around 1997 but as a teenager he used to get up early to watch them on videos day after day.
He wrote the show from memory and has been performing it for three years, starting at small venues and working his way up to a performance earlier this year for 3,500 people at a launch event for the latest Star Wars movie.
“I figure if I can perform it more times than I’ve seen the movies, I’ll have exorcised the demons,” Ross said in an interview yesterday, adding that he’s reached around 300 shows so far.
Members of the audience at a preview at the Lamb’s Theater appeared to know the originals almost as well as Ross ' reserving their biggest laughs for inside jokes such as when he notes in an aside that one character mispronounced Princess Leia’s name, or that Mark Hamill, who played Skywalker, would “never work again” after Star Wars.
“It’s like the English bard tradition, it’s something that a lot of people know so well,” Ross said, attributing the appeal to the story and the merchandising which ever since the first film in 1977 has been key to their success.
“It appeals to the little guy in everybody, a person who comes from nowhere in particular seems to have this potential to be the most incredible person in the world,” he said.
He has also developed a One-Man Lord of the Rings which he says tends to draw a more varied crowd than Star Wars.
“With Star Wars the demographic tends to be male of a certain age, anywhere from 20 to 60, whereas with Lord of the Rings, maybe because there’s all those handsome guys in the films, there tends to be a lot of women who are fans.”