Dallas — Erin Singleton, a local producer, performer, and director, takes on her first solo work at the Dallas Solo Fest 2016. Super Mortal explores the unfortunate superpower of “co-dependency” and is inspired by Singleton’s personal experience with a teacher from her past. Disclosure: Singleton has asked me to offer directorial advice on this piece.
TheaterJones: What is the origin story for Super Mortal?
Erin Singleton: There were a couple of things. I encountered a former teacher of mine. This was a teacher who bullied me, who made me feel very small, and every time I was around her it affected my perception of myself. However, this time when I met her more recently, it was not in that context. I met her as a board member showing her how to use the theater space for a guest artist that she invited to town. It was a huge paradigm shift and she never recognized me.
So I turned to [DSF and Audacity Theatre Lab producer] Brad McEntire and I said, “Wouldn’t it be the worst superpower in the world if every time you met somebody from the past you changed into who you were when you knew them?”
Also, I grew up in what you may call nerd culture but also having a lot of feminist ideas. I wanted to join up those things in a single thread.
What kind of character will we meet in this piece that puts all of those ideas together?
You’ll meet a product of nerd culture, and I say that lovingly. A lot of people would use this as an opportunity to indict popular culture that is called nerd culture, but let’s be real it’s really just popular culture, just a section of it. I think I give it more of a loving treatment because I am a product of that culture. And it’s something that teaches us a lot about what it means to be human. That’s part of the point. These super heroes are just aspects of humanity that are blown up into larger than life form. And that’s the type of character that I portray. The aspect of her character that happens to be blown up is a feminine vulnerability.
Have you ever participated in the Dallas Solo Fest before?
I directed John Michael two years ago in his show Crossing Your I’s.
Have you ever presented a solo piece previously?
I have not which, is one of the reasons why I’m so excited. I’m one of those people who, my favorite thing is to be challenged. And so I’m constantly trying to find new things that scare me just a little bit so that’s one of the reasons why I’m excited to do a solo performance piece.
You’ve worked extensively here at the Margo Jones, can you tell me more about what you do in the theater community here in DFW?
I’m a board member at the Margo Jones Partnership and the Nouveau47 Theatre and I do a lot of producing; I produce their holiday show every year. I participate in a lot of new work development, closed readings and invited readings for local playwrights who are developing their work. I act around town and do some directing on the side.
I guess it’s been percolating about a year, I’ve been thinking about it. I put together something for Brad’s [solo salon] last year in August.
Is this play specifically for nerd culture enthusiasts or a broad audience?
I think that anyone can come to this show and enjoy themselves. I think that if someone is needing something with meatier material that makes them question everything about their universe, they’ll find that in here. If they want something that’s just light and they want a diverting hour, it’s for them as well. I’m writing so that I can invite as many types of people as I can and they will feel like they will have an hour spent well.
Super Mortal is performed on the following dates:
- 7:30pm | Thursday, June 2
- 3pm | Sunday, June 5
- 9pm | Saturday, June 11