Why see it? Because it’s ‘Special’ … at Theatre of Note

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

What could possibly go wrong?

A play about CBS’ infamous The Stars Wars Holiday Special that highlighted (then) among so many #FAILS, a rather depressive Bea Arthur singing a musical number in the saddest rendition of the Mos Eisley Cantina featuring some of the worst, immaterial, off-topic writing, shabby costumes, laughably scary acting, an epic of Wookiee family drama with no subtitles and probably the most embarrassing cameo appearance Harrison Ford, surely ever had to make, including a reference to a backstory love story between Han Solo and a Wookiee. (They stare longingly into each other’s eyes…) Ouch!

Frankenstein monster (Trinto Duaba, a.k.a. Terminal Man character)
Image from: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Stennes_Shifter/Legends

Although they did get the Frankenstein monster (Trinto Duaba, a.k.a. Terminal Man character) almost right.

Oh…I am talking about the actual footage playing in the lobby at intermission (of which you can also find bootleg copies on the internet. George Lucas demanded his name be removed and the special never aired again, it was such a disaster)…which you actually need to view for context in order to get what happened in the first act.

Special is a world premiere comedy at Theatre of Note, that commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the worst variety show in television history with a behind-the-scenes imagined look of how The Star Wars Holiday Special came to be.

Cast members also included Carrie Fisher, Harvey Korman, Art Carney and in holographic form, Jefferson Starship, and Diahann Carroll. There was even a cartoon sequence (the first appearance of Boba Fett). The narrative involved the celebration of the Wookiee holiday Life Day.

It’s all kind of a hot mess. And I mean both the play and the TV special. The comedy lumbers, although surprisingly the show moves pretty quickly. And for as many truly funny bits, there are more times than not where you’d rather they just didn’t ‘do that’. Plus, Lucas is awfully exhausting throughout.  But the absurdity of both the fictional and actual productions supported entirely by the intermission media (which you REALLY need to see for the ‘wait…WHAT? No! Don’t!’ OMG they did!, moments) pulls it together to make this play palpable enough to have a decent night at the theater if not monumentally spectacular.

Written by Andrew Osborne. Directed by Kerr Lordygan. With Paris Benjamin, Alex Elliott-Funk, Lance Guest, Jennifer Hugus, Rich Lehmann, and Marty Yu.

Photo (above) by Andrew Osborne: Paris Benjamin as Leia, Lance Guest as Solo, Marty Yu as Chewbacca

Copyright © 2019 Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

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