WENATCHEE — The Star Wars movies are known for their elaborate special effects, costumes and music. However, for Charlie Ross, the creator of the One Man Star Wars Show that is coming to the Numerica Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, the show features no special effects, no costumes and no music.
It’s just actor Charlie Ross playing out the first three movies and counting on the memories of the audience to complete the story.
“The audience is more imaginative than we really know, and they fill in the blanks,” Ross said. “People tell me when I am doing a voice, they can see the character. Our imaginations are spectacular.”
Ross said he’s one of the biggest Star Wars fans out there. He came by that honestly like many of us did.
“I grew up in the ‘70s, and when ‘Star Wars’ came out it was like anybody that was breathing knew about ‘Star Wars,’” he said. “Any young boy, for the most part, absolutely loved ‘Star Wars’. I was just your typical kid. Maybe somewhat less typical as an adult.”
Ross said he’s familiar with North Central Washington and camps here every year with his family. The region, he said, reminds him of the Kootenays in southeastern British Columbia where he grew up.
Ross studied acting in college, much to the chagrin of his parents, who wanted him to study something more practical.
He wanted to do TV and film but didn’t know where to start. While he earned his professional union card for acting, he felt that limited his options.
“The only way I could work doing something that was not professional was if I did something of my own,” Ross said.”This Star Wars show is one of the many things I tried. It stuck and really resonated with audiences because it is Star Wars but also because it’s such a wacky way to see it.”
The actor did not realize how strange the show really was until he started doing it. At that point, he realized the show might have more of a life than he originally thought.
That is why he’s continued to do the show going on 20 years now.
“The show still tickles people’s funny bone and it is still the main source of acting that I ever did,” he said. “I did not start touring full time until 2002. It took about a year for things to pick up but once it did I found I could go to any theater, which is kind of funny. Literally, I have been around the world.”
Ross said the show has not evolved over the years, but rather it has mutated.
“When I started doing it, I did not even use elbow pads and knee pads. When I was younger, I was throwing myself around. It didn’t take very long until I hit my knee or elbow badly,” he said. “I started using pads. I was wearing jogging pants and going through them like you wouldn’t believe. I started using mechanics coveralls because they are durable.”
The original Star Wars movies from the 1970s and ‘80s are part of the 65-minute show, which is about 20 minutes per film.
He takes huge editorial jumps in the story, but Ross said it is woven in a way that is so bizarre it actually makes sense. He describes it as almost like trimming the fat off the stories.
“As the newer films came out into the theaters, that allowed new jokes just to pop up,” Ross said. “If it is good, it will stay in the next show, and if it’s really good I will keep it forever. It’s fun to have a show of this nature because I’m not really following a script. I can change things if the audience is having a good time. I think, if anything, the show has become more relaxed over the years.”