Han Solo sat in the stairwell of the Bard’s Town where he took my $10 bill for a ticket Friday night. He thumbed toward the small upper-level theatre and said we’d be at table one. The room was wall-to-wall with banquet chairs and small round tables for the sold-out performance of the hilarious return of “Star Wars in 60 Minutes Or Less.”
The show was just what the flyers promised—a five-actor, no budget, PG-13 performance of Episodes IV, V and VI of the Star Wars films in 60 minutes or less (this particular performance clocked in a 58 minutes and 16 seconds.) And it made for a surprisingly cohesive, pleasantly campy, and well-acted hot mess.
While the show may not have been for everyone—if you aren’t at least familiar with the plot of the films, you probably would be a bit lost— when you scanned the room, demographics were intriguingly inclusive. You had everyone from boozy young hipsters wearing Star Wars shirts ironically, to those who were wearing their threadbare t-shirts from when the movies first came out. However, regardless of age, everyone was grooving to revamped hits such as “Moves like Jaba” and “My, My, This Here Anakin Guy”—while waiting for the show to start.
“Here—take some asteroids,” someone said amidst the pre-show chaos.
April Singer dressed as Princess Leia/Luke Skywalker—with only five members in the cast there is going to be some overlap in roles— held open a canvas bag filled with crumpled tin foil balls and moved through the crowd. This wasn’t the only imaginative use of props: there were pool noodles as the Sarlaac pit, teddy bears as Ewoks, balloons as light sabers, and Danishes secured to a headband as Princess Leia’s hair.
Along with Singer, Chris Petty, Tony Smith, Scott Goodman and J.P. Lebangood made up the entirety of Star Wars galaxy. All actors representing The Alley Theater, the cast of the show turned what could have been a galactic disaster into a performance that highlighted spot-on comedic timing, over-the-top innuendo, seamless transitions, and the elusive art of brevity. They also mastered garnering sincere audience participation.
Often, shows that request audience involvement can come off as a tad desperate—or have a plethora of uncomfortable, anticipatory silences. However, with the implementation of simple sharpie-on-cardboard cue-cards, the audience was filled with light saber swooshes, blaster gun bullets, and the ever-memed “It’s a trap!”
And if you didn’t catch one of the sold-out performances this weekend at the Bardstown, have no fear. “Star Wars in 60 Minutes or Less” is returning to a galaxy near you—okay, okay, I needed one spacey pun in there. It’s actually returning to The Alley Theater March 7th and 8th at 10 p.m., so be sure to reserve tickets soon.
Cover and cast photo courtesy of "Star Wars in 60 Minutes or Less"