The Baron and the Junk Dealer could best be described as “Waiting For Godot in space”, “True West, but in another galaxy” or “Hamlet, but there’s two of them, one of whom is Lear”. It’s a darkly funny piece of theatre about the meaning of human existence. Or maybe the futility of human existence. Or neither. Or both.
And if you know nothing of Star Wars, well that really should be plenty.
But if you are a fan of the world’s most epic space opera multimedia franchise, you may know that Baron Notluwiski Papanoida was a minor character in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ played by none other than George Lucas in a cameo role. And you may also realise that the Junk Dealer bears a suspicious resemblance to Watto, the creature designed to be “a conglomeration of odd things that really don’t fit”, who appeared in ‘The Phantom Menace’ and ‘Attack of the Clones’ and whose occupation was … well, it was a junk dealer.
And if you like your theatre even more meta than that, The Baron and the Junk Dealer is written by and stars Connor Ratliff and Griffin Newman. And as fans will know, this isn’t Connor and Griffin’s first foray into the world of Stars Wars. In the cult hit The George Lucas Talk Show (which also appears at this year’s Edinburgh Festival) they play “retired filmmaker George Lucas” and his talk show sidekick “Watto”, interviewing a host of celebrity guests in what is approaching a 10 year run, including Seth Meyers, Weird Al, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Hamm, Kevin Smith, Peter Serafinowicz, David Harbour, Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks), Tony Hale and Aimee Mann. In The Baron and the Junk Dealer, the duo take their funhouse-mirror characterizations of “George” and “Watto”, performed over hundreds of improv hours on their talk show, and create something entirely new and unexpected.
If all that is a little above your nerd-grade, no problem. Inspired by the works of George Lucas, The Baron and the Junk Dealer isn’t a Star Wars parody. The play was written to stand alone and to resonate with everyone in the audience, no matter how little you may know about George Lucas or the duo’s prior work. But if you’re at the other end of the spectrum and you’ve always wondered what would happen if George Lucas and “Watto”, the Toydarian gambler put on a play… Well, the answer is The Baron and the Junk Dealer.