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Zeit bites: A tremor in the farce

Star Wars

“No sets, no costumes, no props.” Because Charlie Ross is an actor describing a one-person stage show, such talk of presentational minimalism isn’t surprising — it’s a thing in the theater, Spalding Gray 101. Except that this isn’t just any stage show. It’s a piece of pop-culture sanctity that’s nearly unimaginable  without sets, costumes, and props:  Star Wars. That’s right, Ross performs a one-man, super-condensed version of the original trilogy — episodes 4-6 in about an hour — with no whiz-bang to fall back on. No gleaming space-Nazi helmet, no John Williams score, absolutely none of the droids you’re looking for. Just a guy using his voice and body language to do justice to a galaxy far, far away: “It’s just me doing the impressions and sound effects.”

Feel that? Millions of nerds crying out in confusion, why? Well, for the same reason Han agreed to fly Obi-Wan and Luke off Tatooine: He needed a job. A theater graduate from the University of Victoria, Ross had discovered that acting jobs aren’t that numerous. So he set out to create one.

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It turned out to be pretty easy to pack those three movies into an hour. Beneath its special effects, the story is pretty basic. Still, his take is definitely not, as they say, canon. “It’s more like an irreverent homage.”

He intends the bare-bones presentation to return viewers to the state of childhood wonder endemic to the movies themselves. Your memory has to infill bits of narrative he had to elide, which it can do because the films have “impregnated our imaginations.” “I can just make a reference and people will remember it.”

7p, May 13, Clark County Library, free; 3p, May 14, Windmill Library, free, A Tremor in the Farce,

Scott Dickensheets is a Las Vegas writer and editor whose trenchant observations about local culture have graced the pages of publications nationwide.