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Theatre Factory's staging of 'Superhero' gets back to childhood basics

| Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Taylor Anderson of White Oak, Becky Shirey of Greensburg, Jonathan Charles Heinbaugh of Irwin and (in back) Reagan Defazio of Irwin rehearse a scene from 'The Most Epic Awesomest Superhero Movie Ever” at The Theatre Factory.
Angela Bender
Taylor Anderson of White Oak, Becky Shirey of Greensburg, Jonathan Charles Heinbaugh of Irwin and (in back) Reagan Defazio of Irwin rehearse a scene from 'The Most Epic Awesomest Superhero Movie Ever” at The Theatre Factory.

Matt Henderson of Irwin says he's been a superhero fan since he was a young child.

So when he was asked by In Between Theatre in Pittsburgh – an organization dedicated to showcasing original works by young playwrights – to write a play for young audiences, he thought it would be fun to explore a superhero world from a kid's perspective.

That's how “The Most Epic Awesomest Superhero Movie Ever,” a play written by Henderson being performed Aug. 12-18 at The Theatre Factory in Trafford, was created.

“The characters in this play all think of themselves as heroes, but sometimes it's possible to be a superhero in your own story and a supervillain in someone else's,” he says. “When I saw superhero movies as a kid, it always inspired me to go home and make up my own stories, and it would be awesome if this play inspired people to go out and create their own superheroes – complete with homemade costumes.”

“Superhero” director Christopher Robin of Irwin says that in addition to being entertaining thanks to the playwright's sense of humor and physical comedy to go with it, the play is a good take on perspective.

“The characters act upon the only information that they are given, and sometimes things aren't just black and white. There is a whole galaxy of colors that need to be accounted for and we learn that in this piece,” Robin says.

Everything about the play focuses on the basics, according to Henderson.

“The costumes are homemade, there's not really a set, everything's kind of improvised based on what's at hand – just the way I remember creating superhero movies with my mind when I was younger,” he says. “I hope audiences will laugh and have fun and think about what it means to be a superhero and a supervillain.”

“Superhero” features a small cast of four – Taylor Anderson of White Oak, Becky Shirey of Greensburg, Jonathan Charles Heinbaugh of Irwin and Reagan Defazio of Irwin.

Robin says he wanted to direct this show – his first time directing a play – because he and Henderson went to the same high school. “He was always an interesting character on and off stage – an inspiration if I might add. I have read a few of his plays before and was excited when The Theatre Factory asked me to direct this play.”

He has acted in music videos, short films, plays and musical productions at Apple Hill Playhouse, The Theatre Factory, Greensburg Civic Theatre and The Cabaret Theatre. He works as a theater/lighting tech and has experience in technical direction and directing music videos.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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