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December 4, 2007

‘One Man Star Wars Trilogy’ channels the force at Kentucky Center

On Friday, Charles Ross will single-handedly save the galaxy from the grip of the evil empire. Then again, he also is the evil empire. Ross, a Canadian actor, brings his “One Man Star Wars Trilogy” to the Kentucky Center as part of the LEO Presents A Little Off Center series, and will act out the entire original “Star Wars” trilogy as a one-man show, from the capture of Princess Leia all the way to the destruction of the Death Star II and Luke’s revelation that Darth Vader is his father. (There’ll be a costume contest before the show and an after party at Jarfi’s.)Not surprisingly, the show is filled with humor and impersonations of the characters known by millions of fans of all ages. We talked with Ross to find out more about his unique shows (he also does a “One Man Lord of the Rings Trilogy”).LEO: Where did the idea for your show come from?Charles Ross: Where all good things come from — drinking beer and shooting the shit with friends. The idea came up years ago and it kept sticking around. I decided to give it a try, and it went really well. LEO: How do you balance humor with the drama of the story?CR: Well, I do genuinely enjoy the films, so I poke fun but never step over the line. It’s sort of like if you have a parent who does something that kind of pisses you off, but at the same time you find it charming. You can do an impression of it and it might only entertain your siblings, but in this case, audiences all over seem to get it. LEO: So there’s no CGI like in the films?CR: (Laughs) No, absolutely none. That’s kind of the novelty; I don’t have props or sets or even costumes — it’s just me. LEO: Will you ever perform the modern trilogy, Episodes I-III, or is it simply too difficult to simulate a one-man pod race?CR: The new films were just made with such a different intention, it seems. It’s a lot more of a CGI-fest. You can watch the pod race and actually see the video games that will be available at Christmas. LEO: Any other film or series you are considering adapting to your one-man show?CR: I’ve thought about it; I’ve thought about taking the Muppets characters and having the “Muppets do the Bible” or something. Something a little bit different. But sometimes the rights are so tied up in so many different avenues that it’s virtually impossible. Luckily, working with LucasFilms has been great. LEO: Has George Lucas seen your show?CR: He’s definitely seen it on DVD, but he hasn’t seen it live — unless he’s been sneaking into the backs of shows and not telling me. LEO: Final Question: What is more nerdy, your show or a “Star Wars” convention?CR: Oh boy, I don’t know. I think they are both supremely nerdy. There have been times I’ve performed at conventions and, my god, it’s like going to the Super Bowl for nerds or something. People paint their bodies and dress up their children. I would have to say a “Star Wars” convention is more nerdy, but simply because of the numbers. You know, some people get scared off by how much they know about the movies. If you have seen it even once or twice, you will remember a lot more than you think you do. My show is not just for people who know the films backwards and forwards, it’s really for everybody. Contact the writer at leo@leoweekly.com‘One Man Star Wars Trilogy’LEO Presents A Little Off Center seriesFriday, Dec. 7Bomhard Theater, Kentucky Center584-7777$23.50; 7:30 p.m.