After the huge success of Gorilla Tango Theatre‘s “Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque” and “Gleeks and Freaks: A Glee Burlesque Musical,” both of which have had their runs extended several weeks, the shoebox-sized theater has decided to take the sexy-parody genre down the sci-fi/fantasy route with “A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque.”
Director Timothy Bambara is a huge fan of the 1970s and ’80s George Lucas franchise.
“There’s a group, mostly 20 to 40-year-olds, who grew up on Star Wars,” he said.
But, born in 1981, he never experienced the three classic films in theaters. Nor did he go to the clubs afterward to dance to the Star Wars score discofied by Meco (really).
So, he wanted to reimagine “Episode IV: A New Hope,” the original “Star Wars” movie, with all of its light sabers, Sand People and sibling-on-sibling kissing through a 1977 pop culture lens.
It’s “‘Episode IV’ crossed with ‘Saturday Night Fever,’” Bambara told the women who auditioned for “A Nude Hope” on Sunday. “The Death Star will be a giant disco ball.”
There are only a few requirements for women auditioning for the all-female cast. Most importantly, she must be able to move, Bambara said. She doesn’t have to have formal dance training, said choreographer Rachel Singer, but she needs to be able to move her hips and chest.
With only a 5-minute time slot, the actor doesn’t have much time to prove her abilities, but “risk will be rewarded,” Singer said. At the Saturday audition, the dances ranged from an interpretive piece and a belly dance, both in full costume, to a burlesque piece complete with “Flashdance”-style leg warmers, to a completely improvised dance to an Outkast track.
Although the show advertises nudity, that’s not entirely accurate. Pasties and G-strings, Singer said. Maybe hot pants. They’ll take into account personal comfort. They don’t want the actors to feel objectified or disrespected.
“It’s not a performance of male gaze,” Bambara said. In fact, he’s the only man working on the show: In addition to Singer, other members of the creative team include costume designer Erica Hohn and script writer Mary Catherine Curran.
Oh, and the ideal actress/dancer should love “Star Wars.” Over the course of the auditions, Bambara’s found he’s not the only one who’s a “‘Star Wars’ geek,” which he means as the highest compliment. One woman came in wearing a Star Wars T-shirt.
“I swear,” Bambara said, “it said, ‘Freeze Rebel Scum.’”
If a girl can do a C-3PO accent, even better. Each actor will play multiple roles, so she may need to jump from Obi-Wan Kenobi to R2-D2 to Princess Leia. No Yoda, though, Bambara said. He first appears in Episode V.
If you’re reading this while listening to the Beegees while practicing your light saber skills, don’t worry, you didn’t miss your chance: Auditions have been extended to this Saturday, with callbacks May 21.