As I’ve mentioned before, one of my other passions is theater. I act, I do tech (well, wardrobe and anything else that doesn’t involve a light board), I do whatever it takes to help a show get on the road. For the past three semesters, I’ve been serving as treasurer of my college’s student acting troupe, which includes organizing student outings to local theater productions. Our first trip this semester? Going to go see The Super Villain Monologues at Dad’s Garage. Why is this relevant to this blog? It adapts selections from Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will be Invincible. Boom! Relevance!
The Super Villain Monologues is a collection of sketches centered on, well, supervillains. Dad’s Garage, a non-profit improv theater in Atlanta, premiered the show at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in the summer of 2010. It brought a tweaked version of the show back to the Festival over this summer, and the sketch show made its hometown premiere this November.
While the vast majority of the sketches are original characters—well, the Hamburglar and Eve are more stock than original—the show is tied together by four selections from Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible. It opens with the fantastic opening of the book and is followed by three more reflective pieces on what motivates a supervillain. It’s an interesting way to ground a hilarious and profanity-laden show with puppets, murder, and a man who can turn himself into one hundred bears. And it’s played seriously by Lucky Yates; while the opening monologue is played a little funnier to establish the tone of the show, I was pleasantly surprised by his intensity and his focus. Towards the end, I was struck by how he was bringing Dr. Impossible alive in a way Grossman probably wasn’t thinking about when he wrote his novel.
The rest of the show is hilarious. Some sketches are funnier than others, and the sense of humor is seriously twisted—but then again, so is mine. (Still, more sensitive audiences might take offense to the language and infanticide.) Alison Hastings and Christian Danley provide the other two-thirds of the cast, ably and affably taking command of increasingly ridiculous characters. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of puppetry involved, which inevitably became my favorite bits. While I won’t link to it because of the language, if you’re up for it, I highly recommend Googling “Super villain monologues moon”, which left me in tears. But there’s also Rock-Man, arguing for gay rights among his fellow Rock-Men, and Killbot, a killer robot who loves television.
Not everything was perfect, mind you—as another review mentions, the Vampyre sketch is a little dated, albeit still hilarious, and some sketches feel like padding for better jokes. But I’ll leave you with a video of Clown, the most dignified sketch that’s also tied to a specific franchise, although the Cape Chaser (a barista who dates supervillains) mentions that they’re firmly in the DC universe of comics. But it’s a wicked and funny little show—if you’re in Atlanta and want an interesting experience, I recommend it.
My week has been a slow reading week. I finished The Printmaker’s Daughter this week, and I’m plodding along through A Visit From the Goon Squad as best I can. We’re not getting on, unfortunately, but I do want to finish it to be done with it. Hopefully, I’ll get more reading done during Thanksgiving!
Tor/Forge is giving away a Sisterhood of Dune bundle until December 9th; you need to sign up for their newsletter. The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) Small Beer Press offers several of their books as free downloads, including Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners. If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!