Charles Ross may have the best job in the world: Professional Geek.
The L.V. Rogers grad, now in his thirties, is the writer and solo star in a couple of wildly successful one man shows based on fantasy trilogies, which he’s spent more than a decade touring around the world.
Last fall he was back in Nelson with his breakout hit One Man Star Wars and now he’s returning with his sequel, One Man Lord of the Rings.
Vurb got in touch with Ross, who was in Duluth, Minnesota at the time, to find out more about the his latest offering.
You’re probably best known as the guy behind the One Man Star Wars Trilogy, which you wrote in 2002 and since performed more than 1,200 times in 230 cities. Has One Man Lord of the Rings been similarly successful?
It’s been similar and different. For instance, the fans of the films and/or books seem cut from the same cloth, but a closer inspection reveals subtle differences. I’ve been touring the Lord of the Rings show for less time — there was period of five years when I wasn’t allowed to tour it — so there have been fewer cities and performances. Still, some of the places I’ve performed LOTR have been pretty swell, like the Sydney Opera House, that was amazing.
What stopped you from touring it?
There was a legal dispute between Peter Jackson and (I believe) New Line Cinema. After they’d finally settled I got permission to do the show.
You take huge epic stories and compress them into one-hour, one-man shows. Can you tell me a little bit about that process?
I work from memory. I sit at the computer and try to retell the story using dialogue that I can personally recall from the films, lines that resonated with me. Working from memory, rather than in front of the TV, helps me edit it naturally. I can only remember so much. Hopefully what I can recall is what the average person can too. Later, in rehearsals, with TJ Dawe, we tighten things up and sometimes expand on other aspects. The result is hopefully a true fan’s take on these films.
What attracted you to LOTR for your follow up show?
The story is so very similar to Star Wars in its structure and its characters, plus the books were so masterfully put to the screen, there was no doubt in my mind that it would be my sequel.
Who is your favourite LOTR character to play?
It’s a toss up between Denethor and Smeagol/ Gollum.
Are there any other stories you want to adapt into a one-man show?
I have searched for another trilogy for years and it’s hard to do. I can’t force myself to fall in love with a series of films. If anything, my search has made me somewhat jaded — it’s come to the point where I can hardly see a film without being blinded by its faults. There used to be a time when I could abashedly fall in love with a film, faults and all.
If I ever do find another series to adapt, I’d have a Trilogy of Trilogies, and that would suit me just fine. Maybe they’ll make another Terms of Endearment or another installment of the Blue Lagoon, and my search will be over. For now, the search continues.
Charles Ross plays One Man Lord of the Rings on Friday, May 17 at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $16 and available at capitoltheatre.bc.ca or at the box office.