Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May the verse be with you in epic 'Star Wars'-inspired play

By Meredith Deliso

Shakespeare meets “Star Wars” in an iambic pentameter- and light-saber–packed production in Williamsburg this month.

“The Impostor Striketh Back: Being the Tale in Which Impostor Fools the Gods” is an original play from the theater group A Festival of Fools that references the “Star Wars” series in name, as well as its choreographed light saber fights and a masked, Darth Vader-esque villain. Yet the play is told through verse.

“It’s an amalgamation of a lot of pop culture franchises and ideas — ‘Star Wars’ and spaghetti Westerns, as well as Faustian and Christian mythology,” said Timothy Martin Bungeroth, the Park Slope-based playwright who, it should go without saying, is a big fan of George Lucas’s epic space franchise.

“I grew up with the first three. They were my mythology,” said Bungeroth (sporting the red mask). “My dad read books about Zorro and the Lone Ranger. For me, it was ‘Star Wars.’ ”

As an adult, though, he was so disappointed by the shoddy dialogue in the newer editions of the series that he decided to give it a shot himself by crafting “much more exciting word play.”

With that, “Impostor” follows the scheming of a Darth Vader-like trickster spirit, the titular Impostor played by Bungeroth, who’s been enslaved in a tower by the gods. He escapes and decides to enact revenge on his captors through a magic script that takes the form of an eBook. His plot goes awry when the characters he creates — two R2-D2 and C-3P0-type heralds, gunslingers, a bounty hunter, mystical knight, and Luke Skywalker-esque teenage stoner  — rebel against their written destinies, and the light saber battles begin.

For Jedi junkies expecting a stage adaptation of “Star Wars” — this is not your play.

“There are a lot of direct parallels, but this isn’t ‘Empire Strikes Back,’ ” said Bungeroth. “This is the culmination of our company mission — new works of verse in modern vernacular, and also magnificent sword battles.”

May the verse be with you.

“Impostor Striketh Back: Being the Tale in Which Impostor Fools the Gods” at the Center for Performance Research [361 Manhattan Ave. between Withers and Jackson streets in Williamsburg, (718) 349-1210], May 14 and 20–21 at 8 pm, and May 15 at 2 pm. Tickets $18-$25. For info, visit www.afestivaloffools.com.

Photo by Tom Callan


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