Watch, or do not. There is no try

It’s a coming-of-age story all right, but cynicism must be curbed. Cynicism is quicker, easier, more seductive, but this is, after all, a coming-of-age story set to the backdrop of the single greatest trilogy in sci-fidom–Star Wars.

Sure, we can all identify with the trials and tribulations of childhood, but what use is that without a score by John Williams and light sabre battles? Bring on the memories, bring on the Jedi!

Produced by Alberta Theatre Projects, The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook is a light-hearted, thoroughly manic journey seen through the eyes of a kid, played by Christian Goutsis, whose move to a new school and trials with the opposite sex are cushioned by his love of the cult hit. With Christmas jingles already taking over the vaulted ceilings of every shopping mall, the timing for a feel-good play about growing up against the backdrop of an epic space opera seems perfect.

Goutsis plays his part with infectious, child-like energy as flashlights become lightsabres, a flight suit is ingeniously cobbled together from old electronics and common household items, and a roller disco becomes bone-breaking humiliation. The hallmarks of a child’s imagination are put on stage while the audience lapses into their respective childhoods. It’s fun, it’s nostalgic and it’s written by a University of Calgary alumnus.

Though the script has been adapted for ATP’s stage, Calgarian Stephen Massicotte wrote the precursor to The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook while a fine arts student at the university. The play grew from a single play to an apropos trilogy titled simply, The Jedi Trilogy.

Adapted for ATP, the version currently in production represents a fusion of the first two parts of this series, following "the kid" from his friendship with a like-minded Star Wars fanatic to the boy’s first experiences with girls.

Massicotte’s success with his critically acclaimed WWI romance, Mary’s Wedding, has given the playwright national attention, yet, in this play, it is clear there is still a part of the local artist that belongs to the idealized world of childhood.

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