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Verily, A New Take on Star Wars

Photo Provided By: Bryn Mawr College Shakespeare Performance Troupe

What began as a mere image of cheap space toys attached to sticks has become the much-needed comedic highlight for stressed students returning from fall break. There are plastic lightsaber swords, nerf guns, and cardboard ships. Yet none of these props detract of the immersion of laypeople and Star Wars fans like. By emphasizing spontaneous humor over traditional trappings such as grand sets, Director Abby Burlingame, ’16, successfully marries drama and comedy in her all-female adaptation of the recent parodic bestseller by Ian Doescher. Together with stage manager Christina Pellegrino, ’18, Burlingame transforms the Erdman Common Room into a galactic battlefield worthy of the original Shakespearean theatre of London. 

Going into the performance, you know you are in for a tongue-in-cheek affair. The program is put together as well as any online humor column; it provides a list of all the things you should know about Will Shakespeare’s Star Wars with an intentionally ludicrous citation on how Star Wars was found among his old notes in 1612. Each actress’s bio, with a cute alien nickname next to it, also contains some sarcastic tidbits about how they are one with their character while their interjections stress their bleak future roles in the Prequels compare to the ones here. 

Speaking of the actresses, they do a solid job. The ones who stand out are not limited to but include Celeste Gambino’s slick and saucy Han Solo, Lindsey Foster’s feisty Princess Leia, and Ming Lee’s neurotic C-3PO.

The costuming is pretty spot-on, with Han Solo and Princess Leia being the best dressed of the characters. Ellen Louise Wright, ’19, is also dressed impeccably as a Renaissance English Chewbacca, complete with a cap and feather to bring about the animal’s jolly nature. Tess McCabe’s Darth Vader wears a beautiful necklace around her black shirt, giving the character an aristocratic look that suggests he could be the princess’s father. It’s a subtler way of letting the audience know their relationship, as opposed to, say, someone shouting out, “Father of the year!” after Vader banishes Leia to the prison. But subtlety is not the intention of this production, though not a bad thing at all. 

The best thing about this production is that it strays a bit from the source material to be its own show. The script adds relevant points such as the upcoming JJ Abrams Star Wars reboot into the prologue in order to resonate with the 2015 audience. The entire exchange between the two sci-fi directors was not in the book but adds an additional story for audiences to latch onto in between scenes. Audience participation was also encouraged in the most atypical ways; instead of telling members to help the characters like bringing Tinkerbell back to life in Peter Pan through chanting, the actresses told them to come and make their heroines’ escapes more difficult in the garbage chute scene. All in all, what stands out most about this play is its original humor and unconventionality. 

I am a Japanese-Australian English major at BMC, contributing poems to several school publications and an aspiring journalist. I've spent half of my life playing the cello and the other have writing essay after essay. 
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