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From a galaxy far, far away: 1-man 'Star Wars' comes to Brunswick

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From a galaxy far, far away: 1-man 'Star Wars' comes to Brunswick

BRUNSWICK — Charles Ross freely admits he watched "Star Wars" way too often when he was a kid. 

His movie mania might have given him a reputation as a geek, but it also allowed him to do what many "Star Wars" fans only dream they could – make a career of acting out the epic science fiction storyline.

Ross is bringing his nationally acclaimed One Man Star Wars Trilogy to the Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick on June 15.

"It's me on stage, kind of acting like an 8-year-old kid," Ross said in an interview Tuesday.

"It's something that rings out truthfully that when we're kids, and even as adults, we can love something unabashedly and act it out, reference it."

The British Columbia-based actor takes on all the roles in the first "Star Wars" film, which premiered in 1977, and two sequels, known as the "original trilogy." (The iconic movie franchise also includes a trio of "prequels" and the most recent film, released in 2008.)

While he plays familiar roles like Luke Skywalker, androids and even star ships, Ross also adds his own side jokes and riffs with the audience when there's a chance.

Those audiences vary, from true fans dressed as Storm Troopers and Darth Vader to people who may have never even seen the films, Ross said. Every show has a different feel, allowing him flexibility in his performance.

Ross got the idea for the show when he was touring North American fringe festivals more than a decade ago. 

While traveling, he noticed that single-performer acts seemed to be the most successful and so he plumbed the depths of his personal experience to find a unique show idea.

It turned out to be "Star Wars."

The farm he grew up on didn't have cable TV, but it did have a VCR, Ross said. During his childhood, he watched a worn copy of the first movie more than 300 times, committing the entire film to memory. 

"I guess a little bit of brain damage was done," Ross joked. "But it enabled me to access this mine of useless information and use it to perform this type of show."

In 2002, Ross toured his show for the first time and hasn't stopped. So far, he has brought it to 180 cities on four different continents, interspersing it with other acts, like a one-man "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. 

After more than a decade, Ross said he's starting to limit his touring. Although he doesn't want to stop performing altogether, he'd like to slow down the pace and spend more time with his family, including a baby daughter. 

"I mean, how much further can this go?" he asked, laughing. "I don't want to be 65 and doing it, but if I was it would definitely be the most unique job a person can retire from."

One Man Star Wars Trilogy will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 15, and Monday, June 16, at the Pickard Theatre on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick. For tickets and more information, visit msmt.org or call 725-8769.

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or pmcguire@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter @mcguiremidcoast.