“When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl.”
That’s how Netflix describes its hit series, Stranger Things. It’s definitely not a comedy … unless you happen to be Charlie Ross.
When something takes itself that seriously, it’s ripe for parody, according to Ross, who has created a one-man, one-hour version of the series.
Everybody is doing their best to do a dramatic role in a show about kids that are living through something like a Stephen King/sci-fi novel, he said.
“It lends itself so well (to parody),” said Ross, explaining that trying to lampoon comedy doesn’t work. “It was already a comedy. You can’t make something funnier than when it was already funny.”
After a great response to Charlie Ross’ one-man Star Wars and one-man Pride and Prejudice last year, Paul Crawford convinced his friend to return to do another fundraiser for the Penticton Art Gallery.
“He’s been. a great friend for a long time, and it’s been a while to get him up here to do this,” said Crawford. “He puts on a professional show every time.”
Crawford said Ross hits the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every summer, where he has a 750-seat room that he sold out every night for three weeks.
“He thrives off that stuff,” said Crawford. “Hopefully we will bring him back next year with another set of plays as well. I’ve seen Lord of the Rings and it’s amazing.
He’s got Gollum and all those guys down so tight.”
Ross is performing his one-man Lord of the Rings on Nov. 13 and one-man Stranger Things on Nov. 14, both starting at 7:30 p.m. in Penticton’s Cleland Theatre.
Ross said he was nervous about trying to write a one-man version of Stranger Things, now heading into its third season.
“When you try and condense down television, there is just so much material. It’s seasons one and two … it’s 15 hours of material condensed into an hour,” said Ross.
“It is very esoteric, and 100 per cent derivative of everything we grew up with.”
But the more he thought about it, the more he decided it would be a perfect subject with the show taking place in a similar time to when he grew up.
“I can do a parody and I can refer to all the things I grew up with, my references and they are totally perfectly timed,” said Ross.
“All the references I make in it, for the most part, are from when I was growing up, the things that I originally found funny.”
Though he writes scripts for his productions, Ross admits he doesn’t always follow them precisely as he plays to the audience.
“If the audience is having fun, that is the best part about it,” said Ross, adding that he takes less liberties with his one-man, one-hour version of Lord of the Rings.
“That is more of an homage, with comedy in it, as opposed to a parody, which Stranger Things is,” said Ross.
“Ian McKellan (Gandalf in the movie version) came to see it. He loved it, which was awesome.”
Tickets for each show are $20, $10 for students and seniors. They’re available at the door and in advance at the Penticton Art Gallery, 250-493-2928.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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