Eight actors, some in Star Wars costumes and the three in the middle holding light sabers, stand in a line onstage.
The ensemble of Trade Federation at Otherworld Theatre Credit: Courtesy Otherworld Theatre

Pay no attention to the show’s baggy, forgettable, mildly pompous title. This smart, tightly written play is at once a very funny satire of the Star Wars saga—and Star Wars fans—a heartfelt homage, and fabulous fan fiction. Set not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away (OK, the setting is contemporary Hollywood), Trade Federation tells the story of an obsessed writer trying to pitch a god-awful script idea for a new Star Wars movie to George Lucas. His idea? A very talky, nearly actionless story building on the idea that the three prequel Star Wars movies (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith) can be interpreted as an allegory, critiquing globalization and the International Monetary Fund.

Trade Federation Or, Let’s Explore Globalization Through the Star Wars Prequels
Through 5/13: Fri-Sat 7 PM, Sun 2 PM; also Thu May 4, 7 PM; Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N. Clark, otherworldtheatre.org, $10-$20

Happily, the comedy that playwright Andy Boyd spins from this premise is far from actionless. Boyd cuts between real-life scenes in the life of Boyd’s sad-sack protagonist (including a pitch meeting with a polite but increasingly exasperated Lucas) and terrible sample scenes from his screenplay. The production, under the direction of Blake Hood, is at times rough, the acting unpolished, the costumes cheap, and the fight scenes and special effects bare-bones. But Boyd’s material is strong, and the whole show has an appealing storefront theater energy to it. It helps that Joe Castinado’s sound design is pitch-perfect. And some of the acting is terrific. Trey Plutnicki, in particular, brings a hilarious, loony intensity to his performance as the earnest but very deluded wannabe screenwriter.