Seven funny and/or touching original short plays. All small-scaled. All about superheroes. Most with a theme: the battle between being human and extraordinary.
That's what awaits you at Insurgo Theater's "The Superhero Diaries." You expect sketches to be amusing, but what's surprising is how winsome this production manages to be. You come to like these poor souls.
Scoot McGee's "Holding for a Hero" starts out with our Captain Archer stuck at a funeral. He doesn't like funerals. Or dogs. And he's afraid of monkeys. Winds up the whole situation is a play within a play within a play within a play. You'll have to see it to understand.
"Superman?!," by Brandon Jones, gives us a Clark Kent-ish man trying to get through airport security. It's a one-joke bit that pays off.
Tyler Collinsworth's "Super Sonic" offers a title character (Brandon McClenahan) who decides, after much conflict, that he'd rather be an ordinary guy.
Nate Devoll's "The Last Will and Testament of the Blue Scepter" features a fatally injured, magically powered woman (Maythinee Washington) looking back on her life. She explains how tough it was to maintain a relationship when she had a job that took her into space for one or two months at a time.
Breon Jenay's "Mayhem" is at first about the meeting of two regular folks (Shane Cullum and Christine de Chavez) passing out coupons on the Strip. Winds up one is a super do-gooder, the other is a super villain.
"Tommy's Divas," by Tommy Watanabe, stars three super sluts who use their beauty to do good acts by controlling men.
And Dave Surratt's "Poker Night" explores a group of men who -- with the exception of the Green Lantern -- have given up the glamour days of heroism. The players include a mysterious, silent figure dressed in black from head to toe, complete with mask and walking stick, who seems a cross between Darth Vader and the Grim Reaper. It's a richly ambiguous tale that deserves to be a full one-act.
I wish I could more fully say who plays what parts, but the program notes don't match performers with roles. And it's worth pointing out that the show is a lot more humorous than a plot synopsis can suggest.
This isn't a great evening by any means, but it's an unpretentious, chummy one; an appetizing way to begin a late-night out.
Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.