On Sunday night, Canadian actor Charles Ross wore a black jumpsuit and black barefoot-style running shoes for his One Man Star Wars performance. He's performed this piece more than 1,000 times, using no props or sound effects, and weaves through the original Star Wars trilogy like a speeder on Endor.
The plot is painted with broad strokes and childlike simplification. Space battles were reduced to noisy shots and explosions. Exposition and story were skipped over. The opening story credits became simply, "Blah, blah, blah." Jokes were observational and appropriately family-friendly. Particularly funny parts included why Chewbacca doesn't get a medal at the end of Star Wars and the comical way the Imperial Walkers fall in Empire.
Ross worked from the correct premise that the audience members had seen all three films. This gave him time to focus on individual quirks from the films, exploiting them to humorous affect. He also avoided geek-related questions like Greedo shooting first, keeping the content interesting for casual fans.
Each character was given an identifiable trait. Han Solo grabbed his crotch. Princess Leia utilized one side of her hair bun. Luke wielded a light saber and a high-pitched whine.
While R2D2's bleeps and bloopers were perfect, other impersonations weren't so much. Occasionally an English accent would slip into an odd place. And the quick pace would sometimes have us confusing the characters, but these were mere moments amidst a fun hour.
Unfortunately, technical problems plagued his performance, as Ross suffered through a barrage of audio clicks and loud booms from the wireless microphone. It was annoying and startled the audience a few times. He handled the issues with appropriate professionalism, once stopping the show for a minute to try and fix the mic. After the sounds were lessened (but not completely gone), he skillfully wove his frustrations into his act, inserting the microphone into a list of things to blast or strangle with the force. At the end of the show, he expressed gratitude for attendance and apologies for the technical problems. This was the mark of an experienced actor. He knew when to ignore the distractions. He also knew when to address them directly, expertly guiding the audience to enjoyment despite the noises. No one got up and left. No one grumbled at the end of the show.
In the end, the crowd clapped with approval and enjoyment of the story we all knew so well, as if the technical problems, along with our own world, were far, far away.