The Star Wars of Penzance: A Space Operetta

Scene 1

(Scene: On board the Death Star, Grand Moff Samuel and a chorus of Stormtroopers are celebrating the completion of the space station.)

Opening Chorus

Zap, oh zap the rebel planet,
Zing, oh zing the asteroid.
Into dust we'll turn its granite
Should a world make us annoyed.

Samuel: For today our great space station,
All prepared for games and fun,
Justifies our proud elation
And its budget over-run.

All: Though its cost ran over budget
Several billion, we don't grudge it.
Zap, oh zap the rebel planet, etc.

(Enter Vader.)

Vader: Yes, Governor, you certainly have reason to celebrate. Not only is your delightful Death Star at last fully operational (with the possible exception of the Xerox machine in my office), but I have succeeded in capturing the beautiful Princess Mabel, leader of the Rebellion.

Samuel: I would also point out that you have succeeded in allowing the Princess's droids to escape with vital information. But what complaint do you have about your Xerox machine?

Vader: The recent battle depleted my personal guard, so I ran off some new Stormtroopers this morning. Instead of the usual white, they came out harvest gold.

Samuel: Do you know what a color Xerox machine costs?

Vader: I prefer a standard model.

Samuel: As you wish. Ah, here is your captive.

(Enter Princess Mabel, escorted by Stormtroopers in gold armor.)

Mabel: Well, Vader, you've just spent the past few hours enjoying the technological equivalent of sticking bamboo shoots under my fingernails, breaking me on the rack and delicately dipping me into boiling oil (or was it melted lead?)-and you've done it in such a scientifically sophisticated fashion that you haven't even mussed my hair or stained my gown. What next?

Vader: I thought I might try eradicating a few planets, for the sheer entertainment value of it.

Mabel: You fiend! How can you be so evil?

Vader: I've worked hard at it. It's my chosen profession, and at last it's paying off.

Song - Vader

Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly
Than suffer under a hero's name
While lusting after a villain's fame.
Though heroes all are good and true,
We villains all are well-to-do,
And I am that character now so rare-
The blackguard who's wicked beyond compare.
For I am a Lord of Sith!

All: You are!
Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!

Vader: And it ith, it ith a thing not to mith
To be a Lord of Sith,

All: It ith!
Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!

Just check the posters and T-shirt racks-
See games and puzzles that tower in stacks-
Investigate each toy and doll-
You'll find my visage adorns them all.
But many a good guy in hat of white,
Who fights for justice and truth and right,
Will perish in obscuritee
While royalties accrue to me.
For I am a Lord of Sith!

All: You are!
Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!

Vader: And it ith, it ith a thing not to mith
To be a Lord of Sith,

All: It ith!
Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!

Librettist's Notes:

I wrote The Star Wars of Penzance not long after the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977, and have not updated it in any way. I was inspired by hearing about the Star Trek parody based on H.M.S. Pinafore that was created during the final season of the original series. A Penzance/Star Wars pastiche seemed a natural.

I was in college at the time, and had become a G&S fanatic only a few years earlier. I had gotten hooked not by seeing performances or by listening to records, but by reading Gilbert's libretti. I'm a language nerd, what can I say? Writing the pastiche gave me a whole new appreciation of Gilbert's ability as a poet. You don't realize how much is in those verses until you take them apart and put them back together.

Note that, in 1978, the Death Star's cost overrun of "several billion" was an absurdly large amount of money.

The full Space Operetta is thirteen pages, most of it in verse, and, like Gilbert's original, illustrated by the author. I'm posting the scanned illustrations on DeviantART, where I go by janach.

And does anyone know where to track down a copy of the original Star Trek/Pinafore parody? I know only a few lines, and I'd love to read it after all these years.