Starfish writes: Some time ago, TORN posted a blurb about a two-man play called “Into the Ring,” in which the actors play dozens of characters obsessed with Tolkien’s works. I attended the one-night-only performance, and I had to share:

If you love Tolkien, you need to see this play.

It centers around two brothers trying to collaborate on a film about Tolkien. One is a sincere purist–(“You make wonderful movies that nobody wants to see…”)–and the other, a Hollywood type who, in one scene, talks on no fewer then five cellphones at a time. In the course of making this movie, the actors morph so seamlessly into their characters that one has to struggle to remember that there are only, ever, two people on stage. Add to this a few great gymnastic stunts, inside jokes, dead-on characterizations of every type of LotR-geekdom, and a compelling plot, and what you have is simultaneously a treat, a tease, and a sincere homage.

But you really want to see it for their 9-minute version of Lord of the Rings. That’s right: 3 minutes per book. Once they started, I didn’t get a chance to catch my breath. It was, simply put, the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I would have gone back the next night–if there had been a next night–just to see them do it again.

The co-creators and actors, Rick Miller and Dawson Nichols, have a website ( and a show in Fort Worth, TX next weekend. I urge all Tolkien-lovers in the vicinity to get out there and see the show: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll always kinda think of Merry and Pippin as talking hands.