In anticipation of the premiere of Wicket: A Star Wars Parody Musical, opening Mar. 15 at Performing Arts San Antonio, ArtScene SSA caught up with PASA’s founder Paul Tinder to talk about the show and where it ranks on the Nerd Scale.
ArtScene SA: I understand this is the Texas premiere of Wicket?
PAUL TINDER: It’s actually the U.S. premiere. The show was originally developed as a workshop in Atlanta. Aside from the workshop, we have the first production in the United States.
The great thing is since we’re actually working with the creators of the show, we’re developing it further because we had more time than they did during the workshop. It’s fun to take this really hysterical piece and tighten it up and expand on a few things that needed expanding upon. It’s also been great that they’ve trusted us to work along with them to develop it further.
How does this compare to other musical parodies that have been produced, like Silence! the Musical?
Well, Star Wars is a very unique animal. A lot of people don’t like what George Lucas did with it in some of the middle episodes. A lot of people hated Jar Jar Binks, for example. So it’s been fun to take a look at the comments and criticisms that have been made in the community and put together a parody of it. We’re poking fun at these things in a very campy and hysterical production which highlights all those aspects.
How much of a Star Wars nerd do you need to be?
Nerds will find it hysterically funny and non-nerds will find it hysterically funny. They just won’t get some of the inside jokes that some of those who are more familiar with the universe will get.
What about the cast?
We have a cast of 16. A lot of Wicket‘s principal characters are played by women or are actually female characters. When they did the workshop, a male character would be played by a female — and that’s the same case here.
The costumes are hysterical, too. It’s make-up and costume-heavy like you won’t believe.
What are the challenges you faced in staging the production?
We have three settings. There’s Bright Tree Village, which is the Ewok village on Endor, and we have the Death Star. We also have the generator on Endor. Because we work on three levels, we’re able to create the three different environments.
That’s what makes PASA unique. We’ve got these three vertical playing areas, which allows us to not only expand the cast but to also create different locations.
Sp what’s the layout of the theater?
We’ve created a bistro-style theater. Since the last show, we’ve added four more tables. Now there are fourteen tables that come with all the extra goodies and concessions.
This layout allows for more intimacy, where you can have dramatic and cathartic and hilarious moments. With the bistro setting, it has more of a relaxed atmosphere. It’s not like when you’re looking at a proscenium stage, where it’s three feet higher than the audience. Here, the performance is three feet from your nose if you’re sitting in the front.
That makes it rather immersive? The characters interact with the audience?
They do, and that’s how the whole opening achieves an almost stand-up comedy feel. There’s a lot of interaction with the audience and poking fun. We definitely break the fourth wall.
The songs are obviously spoofs unto themselves, of course. What genres do they fall into?
You have hip-hop, you have rap, you have pop and you also have an aria. There’s nothing from the original score that is used in the show.
What else would you like to say about Wicket?
A couple of things. I’d consider it to be PG-13, but anyone who’s in middle school or even elementary school has heard worse things. I wouldn’t call it a kid-friendly show, though. It’s highly irreverent.
The second thing is — if you’re looking for an incredibly fun time, you’re not going to find a funnier production anywhere in the region.
Wicket plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. from Mar. 15-31 at Performing Arts San Antonio, 15705 San Pedro Ave. Reservations can be made online.