Thursday, July 7, 2011

Superheroes in Logan Square! A preview of "Powerless, Issues 1-3".

In a perfect world, we would all be protected by superheroes. After all, Metropolis had Superman, Gotham City had Batman and New York had the Fantastic Four. And what does Chicago have? Well, we have the Society of Young Superheroes.  And they are coming to a theater near you!

Powerless, Issues 1-3
is a "comic book play about superheroes set in Chicago", and not only are the superheroes in this play from Chicago, but from our very own Logan Square!  Powerless, Issues 1-3, produced by Hannah Fenlon and written by David M. Brent and Mitch Salm, is a new play that will be previewing during our very own Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival for 3 nights at Voice of the City!  I had the opportunity to sit down with Fenlon last week to talk a bit about the play and what she hopes it will bring to audiences in Chicago. 
 
At first, the plays seems a bit confusing; what exactly is a comic book play? Well, imagine a comic book-- panels of characters and scenes interspersed with gutter space--  a complex story with lots of room for the viewer to interpret what is happening.  Now, put that comic book on a stage filled with actors who are performing scenes of the play while being surrounded by hand drawn art panels on all sides. That is the feel that Powerless is going for.  The story, like most comic book stories, is full of motion and changing scenes and there is a lot of story going on.  But that story, Fenlon described, is constantly being supported and enhanced by the original art panels being projected around the stage.  The viewer may even feel as if they are inside a comic book; that they are controlling what they are seeing.   

As far as the plot goes, the story is somewhat complex, but the theme seems universal.  The play is set in Chicago, in a alternate reality where we are all born with superpowers. But in this Chicago, everyone's superpowers are under lock and key; they aren't allowed to use them. Sure they can work in offices and become civil servants, but the superpowers are what makes each person unique and the main characters aren't about to let theirs' go to waste.  Thus they form the Society of Young Superheroes! To find out what happens to these young superheroes, you will just have to see the play!

Hannah Fenlon at a fundraising picnic for Powerless
photo © Jack Mayer
Fenlon, and the rest of the SYS crew are quite invested in this project.  Not only are they a group of artists, actors and writers trying to get their voice out there, but they are invested in Logan Square as a community which is why the partnership with Voice of the City (VOTC) is working so well for them.  When Fenlon met with Dawn Marie Galtieri of VOTC, she felt instantly that it would be a good fit.  The space is a bit of a blank slate that Fenlon described as the perfect location for a "superhero hideout".  VOTC's mission to unite and connect artists with the Logan Square community is exactly something Powerless is trying to do.  Fenlon is adamant that the play really "feels like Chicago" and connects to Logan Square, a neighborhood right in the middle of transition. They hope the play will speak to a lot of people in the neighborhood and Chicago about finding empowerment.

Powerless, Issues 1-3  is presented in a series of "Issues" and you can see one or all (though we recommend all three to get the full story).   We haven't seen the play yet but are excited to see it firsthand and  so pleased to have Powerless as part of the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival!


MAAF Schedule for Powerless (these are free previews but Donations would be VERY VERY much appreciated!)  
There will also be a Powerless Art Gallery--an art exhibit of original prints and illustrations inspired by the theme "Powerless"
               
       All performances at Voice of the City, 3429 W Diversey 


"RossSpeech" by Daniel Killacky
Thurs, July 28    Issue 1 at 8PM. Concert to follow at Crown Liquors at 9:15.
Fri., July 29        Issue 2 at 8PM, followed by Issue 3 at 9PM.
Sat., July 30       Issue 1 at 7PM, followed by Issue 2 at 8PM & Issue 3 at 9PM.


A regular schedule for show performances will be released soon!

Powerless is currently accepting donations to meet their fundraising goal--please click here if you want to help out. 
Click the links for more info on Powerless, Powerless Art Gallery, or the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival!


Hope to see you there!




--Brooke Herbert
www.brookeherbert.com

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