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September 25, 2016
 

As Only This Guy Could Tell It

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Sean Keller Presents: Episodes I – VI, A One Man Show

Written by Sean Keller
Directed by Scot Atkinson

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2016 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

 

Sean Keller in Episodes I – VI, A One Man Show

Star Wars has occupied a special place in the popular culture for almost 40 years, so, naturally, it has been parodied within an inch of its life. In Louisville we have our own Star Wars in 60 Minutes of Less, a rapid-fire, five-person improv version that has had great success. Now one of our better comics, Sean Keller, has delivered his own greatly abbreviated take on Episodes I through VI.

That means he begins with the now widely reviled prequels: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. Using animations by Mark Farris, mock-ups of the opening title crawls identify each segment. There are also some nifty backgrounds and explosions to punctuate the action along the way, as well as pre-recorded acapella music that translates some of the famous John Williams motifs into absurdly satirical lyrics, such as when a chant of, “This is easily the best part of the movie,” accompanies the light saber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul from Phantom Menace.

But this is first and foremost a showcase for Keller’s quick and fluid talent. His delivery of his own script takes full advantage of his gift for vocalizations, and he plays panoply of characters in such dizzying succession that the show doesn’t stand a chance of being dull. Much of the material is funny, but sometimes the laughs depend entirely on Keller’s performance for their full comic effect. Some of the voices are fairly accurate impersonations: Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Emperor Palpatine, and a hilariously spot-on Jar-Jar Binks, but others are chosen for a particular satiric bent: Annakin Skywalker sounds like Mickey Mouse throughout, and Luke Skywalker is the whiniest cartoon twit you could tolerate.

The prequels are easy targets, and Keller wraps them up in a tidy 40 odd minutes. After intermission, he approaches the more iconic and resonant original trilogy with more freedom, interjecting some bits that deviate from the story lines and calling out George Lucas for his multitude of sins in tending the Star Wars legacy.

Yet it is clear that Keller’s work here is born from a deep and abiding affection for this universe, and he assumes a like-minded audience, never condescending to include any element of primer in the evening. I personally have only seen episodes II and III one time, but I never felt lost or that I missed any of the jokes.

Episodes I – VI is fast, profane, and very funny, and Keller’s work feels improvisatory, although it is actually a carefully calculated performance that is equal parts ingenuity, inspiration, and stamina. He takes the skills and energy of a stand-up comedian and places them in the service of a sustained theatrical piece that is fresh and spontaneous in every moment. Keller delivers a highly personal fan’s perspective that any other Star Wars fan will readily identify with.

Sean Keller Presents: Episodes I – VI, A One Man Show

September 23, 24, 2016

Additional performance added for
October 1, 2016 @7:30pm

Advanced Tickets $15 / At the door $20

The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205
502-749-5275
Thebardstown.com

 

KeithKeith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of PUBLIC on WXOX-FM 97.1/ ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.

 





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