A planet of scant resources, little more than a floating hunk of rock in space, it is host to two new arrivals, the Baron and the Junk Dealer, both of them having sought passage on an economy cargo vessel which unfortunately crashed with the loss of all others on board, the survivors now scavenging among the wreckage and finding a long range communicator which may bring rescue or alert those who wish them harm that they are still alive.
Introducing themselves to each other as the Baron and the Junk Dealer, those are not their real names, but while their faces may be familiar even in these spartan circumstances with no other companionship through the cold nights they wish to keep their secrets, perhaps for fear the truth might push away that one last possibility of friendship, perhaps because the crash has severed each of them from a past that both would prefer to forget.
Performed by Griffin Newman and Connor Ratliff of The George Lucas Talk Show, copyright requires that the setting of The Baron and the Junk Dealer is vague; it is not recent, it is not nearby, but it is an age of space battles, and if the Baron in his burgundy hat and battle kilt bears a resemblance to Notluwiski Papanoida of the Moon Pantora and with his delicate blue wings and trunk the Junk Dealer shares the appearance and mannerisms of the slave trader Watto of Mos Espa, it is surely just coincidence.
Budgetary considerations and the limitations of the stage meaning that any space battles occur behind the curtains, the only special effect is the arrival of an automated capsule big enough for only one, requiring the two uneasy companions to make a choice which will leave one of them behind, forcing them to consider whether the thought of the spiritual redemption of sacrifice is more appealing than the chance of actual rescue.
Described as “Waiting for Godot in space,” much of The Baron and the Junk Dealer is indeed waiting for something to happen, the frustrated Watto becoming increasingly crude while the Baron for the most part keeps his own counsel but still controls the conversation; a play about stories and storytelling, does a new setting allow a character to become someone new? While perhaps – as with many a summer blockbuster – the answer could have been arrived at with greater expedience, as they reveal themselves to the audience and each other the play finds its focus and its heart.
The Baron and the Junk Dealer runs at Assembly Roxy until Thursday 24th August