Pop culture and theatre, they really can mix. [The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook Review]

In the beginning there was the stage. And that is where people went for mass public entertainment. Plays, operas, gladiators…public hangings. People positioned around a few people doing something dramatic for the audiences delight. That was show business.

As time went on, the stage got bigger, the shows got bolder and then…we decided that pictures on a screen were better. Instead of gathering around a stage, folks sat down in a dark room to watch a screen. Dark theatres lead to TVs, then VHS, DVDs and now streaming services. We still get out to the movie theatre every once in a while and every so often when we feel like being high brow or artsy we’ll go to a play.

The Christmas Carol…a Broadway show staring that actor you really liked from that blockbuster movie…a contemporary theatre show that you don’t understand but went to because you watched a Kardashian marathon on the weekend and now have high levels of culture shame that need to be cleansed.

There are plays and there are movies. There is culture and there is pop culture.

But what about when they come together. On a stage. I remember the first time I saw a play that had a scene with a girl dancing to Man in the Mirror like MJ and I freaked out. What was this? This is not Shakespeare. It’s current, it’s pop culture on the stage. I like it.

There are some theatre companies that produce shows that integrate pop culture into their shows. In Calgary, Ground Zero Theatre likes to bring these stories to the stage.

Riding the Star Wars wave, the company’s current production is The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook…a play about a kid who is obsessed with Star Wars. He walks you through his journey of watching the movies, starting with number one and continuing on.

I will admit that I didn’t fully connect with it because I am not a boy. I did not spend my free time reenacting actions scenes from a movie. I do however, have two brothers who like to quote every single movie they have ever seen (this is a boy thing, 100%). So I get it. I also wasn’t alive in the 70s when the first movie came out so identifying fully with the classroom scenes or his idea of a good time – but I still get it. The impact that a pop culture phenomenon can have on a kid.

It’s a story about a kid, that’s pretty standard – but then there’s the jokes and the references that you will only get if you watched Star Wars. And who hasn’t watched Star Wars? Well, maybe people born in the late 90s…but this show wasn’t created for them. It was created for the Star Wars lover. There are a lot of you out there so don’t miss this show. It will not disappoint.

From the screen to the stage…how we like it.

The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook is playing until February 21, 2016 in the Studio at Vertigo Theatre. Click here for tickets.



Jes spends approximately 25% of her income on brunch, really likes to laugh and is certain if Regina George punched her in the face she would not think it was awesome.

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