BWW Review: THE SUPERS at Z Space
The Supers - A Science-Fiction Magical Realism Human Cartoon Opera
Written by & Starring Sara Moore
Music by Rob Reich
Directed by Colin Johnson
Multi-award-winning clown, actor, director author and filmmaker Sara Moore titles her new production, The Supers, A Science-Fiction Magical Realism Human Cartoon Opera. That's quite a mouthful of multi genre styles, but is an adequate description of this highly ambitious, thoroughly engaging and brilliantly acted performance piece. Moore, who's constantly pushing the boundaries of clowning as director of the SF Clown Conservatory has cast herself with masters of their craft to create an other-worldly tale of quirky cosmic refugees challenging authoritarian forces and finding their individual healing powers.
Performed entirely in pantomime, the seven performers incorporate every type of physical comedy imaginable; mime, facial manipulations, acrobatics, pratfalls and balancing. You probably won't see anything quite like The Supers and for that reason, its must-see theater. Employing an eclectic score by composer Rob Reich and some mirror work animation projections by Colin Johnson, the characters perform their intricate choreographed movements with breathtaking skill. Johnson also doubles as director and brings Moore's fantastic vision to fruition.
Without words, the actors must explain their roles through sheer physicality, harkening back to silent era clowns like Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. The five travelers are introduced at the onset; there's Helena, a horn-rim bespectacled business lady with rolling cart (Maureen McVerry), Edgar, an adventurer (DeMarcello Fune), the wiry-haired Charlue (Guilhem Milhau), Oopsy, a damaged ballerina (Kaylamay Paz Suarez) and Moore as Jess. They all share the surname Majeska, but their relationships remained unclear.
Along their journey, they encounter crazed military characters played by Adam Roy and Joel Baker. The duo will also play The Super (Roy) and his faithful accomplice Waldo (Baker). Each character gets ample time to display their phenomenal clowning skills and the results are often breathtaking. You can't take your eyes off Adam Roy and Joel Baker during their manic scenes and the entire cast rises to a greater sum of many excellent parts.
Brooke Jennings provides the quirky costumes and Scenic Designers Katie Whitcraft and Jacque Bugler have designed a beautiful four-square set that passes as the character's home, excellently lit by Nic Candito. There's plenty of elements here to engage the audiences and Moore's script leaves room for conjecture and interpretation. Even if you don't get her intentions, the cosmic ride is well worth the time.
The Supers continues through February 29, 2020 at Z Space, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco. Tickets available at http://www.zspace.org/supers or by calling the Z Space Box Office: 415-626-0453.
Photos by Fernando Gamberoni.