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Star Wars: Live on Stage!
words: Bonnie Burton
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…an epic space drama unfolded to the delight of children of all ages. This December, Dark Room Productions proudly fold it back up to present, for eight performances only in San Francisco, STAR WARS: Live on Stage!
A deliciously evil empire. A heroic rebel alliance. Cool laser battles! Lightsaber duels! Awesome zero-gravity dogfights! And a $100 special effects budget! It’s everyone’s favorite, classic blockbuster performed with a very small block.
starwars.com chats with STAR WARS: Live on Stage! Director Jim Fourniadis who also happens to be the Creative Director of the Dark Room Theater and adoptive father to Maggie “the cute French Bulldog, our mascot, who is still mad at me for making her wear a little Princess Leia costume on opening night.”
(Photo by Scott Beale)
Why did you decide to do a theatrical production of Star Wars?
Well, I thought what would be the least likely film to adapt to a stage the size of a parking space…Answer? STAR WARS!!! Really in all seriousness, I love the original film and, in a very real sense, the special effects, while stunning, are peripheral to the film’s appeal. The story is what counts and George Lucas’s script is timeless.
Is it the whole movie or just favorite scenes?
We pared it down to 1 hour and 15 minutes, so we essentially cut out scenes that were not central to the main plot. In order to facillitate that and to have fun by providing a different perspective to the story, I introduced two stormtroopers to the cast. They act as the classic butler and maid, and function also as audience surrogates. Plus they are pretty funny. Other than that the film is fairly in tact.
What’s your favorite part of the show?
When Chewbacca first emerges. Every night the show stops for five minutes until the audience can regain their composure.
(Photo by Scott Beale)
What kind of special effects can fans expect?
Fairly ironic, low budget and self-aware ones. If you squint you will notice that R2-D2 is a painted bullet trash can with the word “Push” clearly visible on the face plate.
Do you think George Lucas would approve?
It’s hard to say, it would be a little silly to think I could anticipate Mr. Lucas’s response, I rarely am certain how anyone will respond to my work. If nothing else, I think Mr. Lucas would immediately recognize that we are all devoted fans and that our production is fiercely true to the original spirit of his classic film. That level of devotion is kinda hard to fake.
Why do you think fans should come out and see the show?
Because they are hungry for a new way to re-experience something they love. They, like us, have this film etched in their brain and exercising those memories by focusing them through our distorted lens is cathartic and fun.
My only hope is that people will walk away with a sense that in some way they have been given a chance to see Star Wars again for the first time. I think we are all having so much fun on stage, that the audience can’t help but be affected by our enthusiasm. If we can get people to add the memory of our show to their vision of Star Wars, then we will not only have aimed high, but have knocked it out of the park.
STAR WARS: Live on Stage runs December 5-27, 2008; shows Friday and Saturday at 8pm at the Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission Street, between 18th and 19th, San Francisco, CA