(November 12, 2015)
Marjorie Lyons Playhouse presents "Hearts Like Fists"
SHREVEPORT, LA — "Parody and punches fly...the combination is madcap. Pretty hysterical too," wrote the New York Times of Adam Szymkowicz's 2012 play Hearts Like Fists. Local audiences will have the chance to experience this critically-acclaimed superhero noir comedy about the dangers of love at Centenary College's Marjorie Lyons Playhouse November 19-22. The play, directed by Abigail Dillard, is the Centenary Department of Theatre's 2015 student production.
Hearts Like Fists follows the story of Doctor X, who is sneaking into apartments and injecting lovers with a lethal poison, and the elite Crimefighters, who are working to stop him. Woven into this classic good vs. evil morality tale are complex lessons about what it means to fight for a cause, to search for personal fulfillment, and to connect with others despite vast differences.
"I really feel strongly that Centenary students will identify with one or more of the characters in this show," says Dillard, who is directing her second production as a Centenary student. "These characters are young adults who are working for what they love and fighting for those they love. Centenary students are doing the same thing, but like all college students, they sometimes feel misunderstood. I hope to show with this production that it's okay to be misunderstood for a time but eventually you need to fight for what you love or that passion will be wasted."
Dillard welcomes the new challenges that have come with directing Fists, a production that represents a departure from The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) that she led at Marjorie Lyons in January 2015. Her Fists cast is larger — and younger — and the production calls for a specific movement style that Dillard calls "calculated, sexy, and stylized," animating a believable comic book world but remaining recognizable by an everyday audience.
With its focus on relationships and especially on the impact that individual choices have on other people, Fists also advances the 2015-2016 Department of Theatre theme Why Unto Others...?. Dillard's preparation for directing the show included deep reflection about how this stylized and often-silly piece of theater could pose some hard questions about the origins and impact of actions that appear to stem purely from love or from hate.
"For Hearts Like Fists, I've clung to the image of the human fist and human heart being the same size. Though science now tells us that feelings of love are stimulated from the brain and not the heart, human instinct still imagines love stemming from a caricature of that organ," says Dillard. "The heart is known for love and the fist is known for hate, and at the same time they are the same size. And don't they both hurt once we're done using them?"
Hearts Like Fists runs November 19-21 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on November 22. On opening night, Thursday, November 19, all high school students with a valid high school ID card will be admitted for free. All performances will be held at Marjorie Lyons on the campus of Centenary College, 2700 Woodlawn Avenue, Shreveport 71104.
Tickets are $5-$15 and can be purchased online at centenary.edu/playhouse/tickets or by calling the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse Box Office at 318.869.5242. Centenary faculty, staff, and students can also purchase tickets through OrgSync.