Follow TV Tropes


Theatre / Ani

Go To

Another parody musical by Team StarKid, this time focusing on Star Wars and 80s sports movies, Ani: A Parody focuses on Darth Vader between the original and prequel trilogies. Vader (who goes by the name "Ani" here) is going through a midlife crisis, missing his time as a podracing champion in his youth. When he is offered a chance to leave the Empire, he leaps on the chance to return to Tatooine. Cue obscure Star Wars jokes and more StarKid Invoked Alternative Character Interpretation. It was staged using about half of the StarKid cast, with the other half doing The Trail to Oregon! on alternating days at the same theater.


Ani provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actually, I Am Him:
    Tarkin: Say, do you know an Obi-Wan Kenobi?
    Obi-Wan: Of course I know him, he's me.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Of a sort. All the characters still have their real names, but most have preferred nicknames: Vader still goes by his childhood nickname Ani, Jar Jar Binks goes by J.J., Boba Fett goes by Bob, and Emperor Palpatine goes by Pappy. Played straight with Tarkin, who gets the first name Jeffrey.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Variation. Vader, the Emperor, and Tarkin are still evil, but their villainy is heavily downplayed, and they're portrayed as more lovable, sympathetic characters.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Obi-Wan. He kills Jar-Jar, blaming him for Qui-Gonn’s death and admits that he plans to raise Vader’s son in ignorance so he can kill him later on.
  • Advertisement:
  • Aerith and Bob: In a galaxy with characters named Anakin Skywalker, Mara Jade, and Jar-Jar Binks, there's Grand Moff "Jeffrey" Tarkin and Emily the Stormtrooper.
  • The Alcoholic: Obi-Wan.. Big time.
    • Jar-Jar also.
  • All-Knowing Singing Narrator: An extreme example — all of the songs are sung by Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers from offstage, as part of the band. Word of God was that rather than a Broadway musical this show was meant to evoke the style of a film soundtrack with pop songs playing over montages (a la "Gonna Fly Now" in Rocky or "Eye of the Tiger" in Rocky III).
  • Ascended Extra: Eric Kahn Gale, whose acting in Starkid productions had previously been limited to cameos, is part of the ensemble here, playing such characters as Sebulba, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Jabba the Hutt. Also qualifies as Descended Creator, as he's one of the group's most prominent members behind-the-scenes.
  • Bad Boss: Ani and Pappy, of course. Just like in the main Star Wars universe, they're prone to torturing and killing subordinates who disappoint them. The trope is played with a bit, though: both of them make real attempts to be genial, and no one on the Death Star is even sure if Ani is their boss.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Sebulba and Obi-Wan.
  • Big "NO!": From Ani after Jar-Jar dies
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The characters frequently interact with the band.
  • Canon Immigrant: Mara Jade, who only appears in Star Wars Legends, is treated like she's just as important as the movie canon characters (and anyone who doesn't recognize her "doesn't know dick about Star Wars").
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: No one gets any of Ani's Star Wars jokes.
  • The Cast Show Off: Denise Donovan is a dancer in Real Life and has worked as a choreographer on several Starkid shows. Her self-choreographed dance audition as Mara Jade is a highlight of the show.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Ani's dead wife Padme is never seen, but he does people a photo to prove she "looks just like Natalie Portman".
  • Character Tic: Whenever Ani becomes particularly emotional, the way he talks starts to sound like his character portrayal by Hayden Christensen in the prequels. It causes everyone around him to wince in disgust.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Ani's dumb joke about making two Death Stars so they can pose as Gag Boobs turns out to actually be the reason the Emperor commissioned them.
  • A Day in the Limelight: One reason for the controversial "non-musical musical" concept was to give stage time to Team Starkid members more known for their acting than singing ability, most notably Chris Allen and Nick Lang. (On the flipside, this musical also allowed Starkid's longtime musical director and band leader Clark Baxtresser to sing in a show for the first time instead of just providing accompaniment.)
  • Death by Adaptation: Jar Jar is shot and killed by Obi-Wan near the climax.
  • Deconstruction: The show deconstructs Jar Jar's role as The Scrappy, and how it affects him emotionally. The universal hatred towards him had completely obliterated his self esteem, causing him to develop alcoholism, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "It's a humourous play on words, and that's where the comedy comes in."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Pappy kills a man for not finding his boob joke funny.
  • The Faceless: Emily and the other stormtroopers, Boba Fett, and the Emperor (whose eyes and forehead are In the Hood). In Emily's case the helmet even stays on during The Big Damn Kiss with Tarkin. Averted with Ani, who, unlike his canon incarnation, wears a helmet that reveals his face.
  • Fan Disservice: Chris Allen in a bikini.
  • Fat Bastard: Downplayed with Ani. He tries to be amiable, but has his moments of jerkiness. He also doesn't seem too fazed with the Empire blowing up planets.
  • Fat Idiot: Darth Vader is very fat, and very dense.
  • Gag Boobs: Pappy designed the Death Stars to look like boobs, so he could have 2 planet sized boobs in space.
  • Gender Flip: All the Stormtroopers are female.
  • Glory Days: The whole premise of the show is that Anakin Skywalker's life peaked at the moment he won the Boonta Eve Classic and has been all downhill since.
  • Happiness in Slavery: According to this play, slavery in the Star Wars Universe isn't so much a societal ill where people are stripped of their personhood in favor of their owner's whims so much as an actual job that people sign up for like a dancing or acting gig. You can't even hope to be hired as a dancing slave-girl for Jabba the Hutt without a very thorough resume laying out your experience in the field of slave dancing.
  • I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!: Obi-Wan Kenobi proves that this phrase is much more effective when combined with a Jedi Mind Trick.
    Bartender: I think you've had enough.
    Obi-Wan: I'll tell you when I've had enough!
    Bartender: You'll tell me when you've had enough!
  • Imagine the Audience Naked: Ani advises Mara to picture Jabba naked if she gets nervous.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Ani runs off of them.
  • Insane Troll Logic: It is brought up to Obi-wan how the Jedi's philosophy can be boiled down to "Balance between the Light Side and the Dark Side = the Light Side exterminating all of the Dark Side and leaving the Light Side to rule unhindered" by Tarkin. Obi-wan hears him out, but he's too drunk for it to stick.
  • Knights and Knaves: When discussing Ani's poor chances, the pod race announcer admits he might be wrong because one of his heads tells the truth while the other always lies.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During the cantina scene the normally non-diegetic band puts on sunglasses and headpieces to make themselves look like the Star Wars cantina band, and briefly interact with Ani.
  • May the Farce Be with You
  • Ms. Fanservice: Denise Donovan as Mara Jade and Meredith Stepien as Oola, reflecting their characterization in canon. Also a surprising Mr. Fanservice with Joe Walker as Tarkin.
    • A possible subversion with Emily the Stormtrooper, where, in defiance of genre convention, there is no Dramatic Unmask or Beautiful All Along moment — Julia Albain keeps the whole costume on for the whole show.
  • Mythology Gag: Ani says he's old enough to be Mara Jade's father-in-law.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ani's voice is very much based on that of Patrick Warburton's. Also, the Emperor sounds an awful lot like Gilbert Gottfried.
  • No Fourth Wall: Ani is constantly telling "Star Wars jokes" and telling people they "don't know dick about Star Wars" even though they're, you know, characters in Star Wars.
  • Pet the Dog: Pappy's relationship with Ani.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Darth Vader's position as Dark Lord of the Sith has been reimagined as a pointless sinecure Palpatine gave him out of pity. All he does within the Imperial power structure is get in people's way and occasionally Force-choke them.
  • Running Gag: "Don't you know dick about Star Wars?"
  • Shout-Out
  • Slow Motion: Acted out onstage at dramatic moments to hilarious effect.
  • Sports Stories: The concept of this show is redoing Star Wars as an '80s sports movie, reimagining the podracing scene from The Phantom Menace as the most important event in the saga.
  • Straight Man: Joe Walker is Playing Against Type here with Tarkin serving mostly as a Straight Man to, alternately, Ani, Pappy, or Obi-Wan, after playing a Large Ham in a ridiculous costume in most of his past roles.
  • Take That!: Several to the prequel trilogy, particularly Attack of the Clones.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Tarkin keeps getting flustered when talking to Emily, taking this trope almost to Felicity Smoak levels sometimes.
  • A True Story in My Universe: The Prequel Trilogy is Ani's home videos here.
  • You Bastard!: Tarkin reminds Ani that everyone hated J.J. and wanted to see him dead. Ouch.