Normally, watching the first three movies filmed in the "Star Wars" trilogy — "A New Hope," "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" — would take six hours and twenty minutes (and that's if you're not viewing the slightly longer "special editions").
Playwright and director Patrick T. Gorman, however, thinks that's way too long to get the gist of the films. Instead, he'll stage his Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes Oct. 25-Nov. 23 at Los Angeles' Coronet Theatre Upstairs, with the blessing of Lucasfilm and for the benefit of Festival Theatre USA.
The plot of the first three (in filming order, anyway) "Star Wars" movies is almost universally known. Young desert dweller Luke Skywalker learns of his royal pedigree, becomes a sort of mystical warrior for the good forces of the galaxy and restores order to the universe with the help of his princess sister, a black market smuggler and various aliens and droids. All the while, Skywalker grows to be a man as he completes his near-mythical quest.
Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes, which uses low-tech props like whiffle bats for lightsabers, had a well-received run at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival. Gorman's other credits include adapting Reservoir Dogs for the stage as well as writing the plays Four Guys Eating Out, The Host's Age and God Is Pooh Bear.
James Snyder is Luke with Maia Peters as Princess Leia, Mark Kelly as Han Solo and Scott Walker Mullin doubling as Darth Vader and Chewbacca. Also in the cast are Steve Jospheson (C3PO/Yoda), Alan Lennick (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Howard D. William Yates (Lando Calrissian), Jason Major (The Emperor), Michael Cornacchia (Jabba the Hut), Mark Reilly (Nien Nunb), Leigh Anne Goodoff (Wedge) and Gorman (Stormtrooper). Tickets are $15. The Coronet Theatre is located at 368 North La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood. For reservations, call (310) 657-7377.
– By Christine Ehren