By Lisa Allan

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Flash As Productions’ show Hero Complex. Photo by Bex McDonnell.

Hero Complex comes to Nelson all the way from Hamilton/ Auckland. It is an original piece of theatre that takes us into the psyche of the superhero.

The premise is pretty simple. A superhero-in-hiding has a ‘not-just-a-job’ as a policewoman. She is forced to undergo therapy after a traumatic encounter with the new villain on the block. As the story unfolds we discover that it is not just our hero who is harbouring secrets, the psychiatrist is keeping some of his own.

There is a lovely connection between the two actors, an ease and surety in each others presence. The listening and responding that goes on is a joy to watch. The direction is simple, the dialogue and the budding relationship between the two characters is the focus.

I desperately wanted the connection that was so well established on stage to sneak out into the audience. It is an exciting investigation to play with different ways of inviting your audience into the work. If this piece was to be staged again then it might be interesting to have this as a focus.

Another note, which is tied into the point above, is to do with the use of energy. I think that if the show was to be filmed up close, if the subtle facial expressions and gentle honesty were captured in that way, it would be an utterly engaging experience. Traditional theatre doesn’t have the skilled lens of a camera guiding us around the story of course. Instead, it is energy that needs to be commanded and used to gather a room full of people into your offering and to guide their attention  where you want it to go. The Suzuki Method of Actor Training and the 7 Levels of Tension are two great ways to explore how energy can be used to make a performance more dynamic and compelling. I think the piece would benefit from playing with how energy is used, it’s also a fun thing to incorporate as an actor!

Stand out moments from the show are the combat scene between the two characters, the ingeniously responsive table (and the hilarious throw-away line about it just being repaired) and the unintentional suggestion that perhaps the stage manager is the villain… in my mind, there was a scene where she admits this.

A neat concept with really lovely moments, created by very talented people.

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