The Star Wars Identities travelling exhibition has been drawing crowds and selling out since it opened last spring and I am finally among those who have seen it. The show is a lot of fun and quite the interactive experience. Conceived right here in Quebec (and will travel the world starting this year), the show sets the bar very high for a magnificently constructed and well thought out journey that satiates nostalgia while provoking thought. I went with a friend and his four year old and I’m still not sure who had the better time.
As a fan of Star Wars as a child, I went into this exhibit excited about seeing R2-D2, C-3PO and the other props and stills used to create the movies (there are hundreds of props spanning the 6 films and even some of the Clone Wars TV show). I had no idea how it was all going to be set up but I was very impressed by how well thought out the entire experience was laid out.
First of all, it’s not just a travelling show about the movies. The underlying theme of identity, which was weaved throughout the exhibit asks the question, what are the forces that shape us? (Pretty deep stuff for science fiction, right?) When you arrive, there is a 3 minute movie that sets up the experience, and then you move on and select an avatar that you will help develop over the next hour and a half. You are then sent on a quest to discover your identity (I wasn’t psychologically prepared for an afternoon of profound thinking, but – hey, when in Rome…).
Stopping at ten stations, positioned throughout the vast collection of spaceships, robots and aliens, you are asked questions about the components of life that shape us. Everything from parenting styles, to how we would react if our home planet is destroyed are questions that you may actually be surprised you take seriously. All this builds up to the one very big question at the end, but you have to get past Darth Vader first (seriously, very cool). I’m not giving that question away. You should go to find out what it is.
If you like Star Wars, both the kid and the adult in you will enjoy the exhibit. You have until September 16th to see the show here at the Montreal Science Centre before it moves to Edmonton (not so far, far away…).