The original Star Wars trilogy has often been called an “epic saga”, and rightfully so. What can you say, after all, about a glorious space opera with exotic settings, dashing heroes and sinister villains, brought to life with cutting edge special effects and a magnificent soundtrack?
Too much epic, however, can be tiring. Why would anyone need a big blockbuster Star Wars production with a cast of hundreds, when you can watch one crazy talented man perform it all?
And this is where Charles Ross comes in. He’s the main man of the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy show, an epic 75-minutes retelling of Star Wars Episodes IV-VI. He flies all the spaceships, and fights both sides of all the battles. He sings all the music and does all the sound effects. And he plays all the characters, from Darth Vader to R2-D2!
“My favourites would be Luke and the Emperor, one is very whiny and the other is such a rotten jerk. I find it cathartic to play Luke and the Emperor,” says Ross, 42, in an e-mail interview.
One-Man Star Wars Trilogy plays in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Penang.
“The hardest is Yoda for me, because of Yoda’s voice. That being stated, I still love to be Yoda, and I think I can master his speech patterns. The fact is that in a show where you play 40 characters, at least one has to be the most difficult. I simply do, rather than do not!”
Green light from Lucasfilm
Watching Ross perform is both nostalgic and hilarious. The performer not only recreates the saga’s most memorable scenes (with surprisingly accurate character impersonations!) but also sometimes provides amusing commentary about the saga.
Ross’s One-Man Star Wars Trilogy is endorsed by director George Lucas’ film company, Lucasfilm. One-Man Star Wars Trilogy was first staged in Toronto, Canada in January 2001 and has since been performed over 1,000 times in over 119 cities worldwide. Ross will soon be able to add KL and George Town to that tally.
“I have never been to Malaysia. I’m hoping to spend time as a tourist when I can. I’d love to see temples and markets!” says Ross.
The Canadian performer has also been featured on TV shows such as NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien and CBS’s Late Late Show. He has performed his show during numerous Star Wars celebrations as well as the Comic-Con International 2004 in San Diego.
A true Star Wars fan
Ross, a strictly original Trilogy performer on stage, has apparently watched the first Star Wars film (A New Hope) over 400 times, and the other two films (The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi) about 50 times each.
“I loved the first film when it came out, because it was so easy to love. There was a period of time when my family lived on a farm, and we had no access to TV channels. We only had a couple of movies on video. A New Hope was one that we had. Being that I was eight at the time, I gladly watched it until the video broke,” says Ross.
According to him, various Star Wars cast and crew have seen his show over the years.
“I remember Jeremy Bulloch thought I was a bit cuckoo. He may have been right,” says Ross, referring to the English actor who played Boba Fett in the original trilogy.
It’s not just Star Wars that Ross is great at. He also does a One-Man Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and a One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody. He mentions there are One-Man Pride And Prejudice and One-Man Stranger Things shows in the works.
“One-Man Lord Of The Rings is challenging because it’s even more physically demanding than the Star Wars show. There’s so many more battles in Lord Of The Rings. I have to throw myself all over the stage, and smash myself into the ground for 70 minutes.”
Has Ross ever gotten any of the lines from his shows confused?
“All the time! Just kidding! That’s why it’s called live theatre. It is the spice of life, making mistakes is lovely because you get to try and make it right. It’s a challenge and let’s not forget, the comedy behind it!” says Ross.
Meeting the princess
Ross also notes that he enjoyed the recent Star Wars films and had been sad to hear about the passing of Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia.
“I’m as sad as anyone to know that Carrie Fisher passed away. I had the chance to meet her a couple of times – she was such a funny woman. I had a chance to read The Princess Diarist only a few days before she died, and it made her passing seem all the more shocking,” says Ross, referring to Fisher’s 2016 memoir.
“That said, the world of Star Wars lives and thrives. The Force Awakens and Rogue One are both superb. I can’t imagine a more exciting time to love Star Wars.”
If he were to live in the actual Star Wars universe, what would he be doing?
“I’m pretty sure I would have been fed to the Rancor monster a long time ago,” says Ross.
One-Man Star Wars Trilogy will be showing at the HGH Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur on April 21, and at The Wembley: A St Giles Hotel, in George Town, Penang on April 22. For more info, check out www.milestone-entertainment.com or www.ticketpro.com.my.