The Hero in Me

At the Dallas Solo Fest, Erin Singleton's Super Mortal is a fine start for a performer not fully aware of her powers. 

published Friday, June 10, 2016

Photo: Courtesy of Erin Singleton
Erin Singleton

Dallas — There are probably more commonalities than you’d expect between a superhero and a solo performer, and in her solo show Super Mortal at the third annual Dallas Solo Fest, Erin Singleton hits on one of them: “I’m a loner,” which she qualifies with the plea not to pity her, “which is common in the superhero world.”

When she says that, she’s really referring to her status as a vlogger, trying to gain subscribers as she offers tidbits about her own life in the context of superherodom and Joseph Campbell’s 12-step hero’s journey (which she compresses to seven). In her show, Singleton plays a comic book-obsessed, fantasy-loving geek-girl, with each scene a new entry in her vlog. (She’s also an adjunct professor of pop culture for an online-only course at one campus in a community college system, so there.)

This is Singleton’s first solo show to write and perform (Shelby-Allison Hibbs is director). Singleton has directed others’ works, though, notably Dallas expat John Michael, now based in Chicago. Performatively speaking, Super Mortal shows an influence from John Michael, especially in a segment in which Singleton carries on a conversation, with two different voices, between action figures in each hand. Also with the closing mantra of each scene, imploring views to “please subscribe,” which runs the gamut from enthusiastic to desperate. It becomes annoying quickly, which might be on purpose.

At her opening performance, Singleton’s nervousness occasionally peeked out, but that’s to be expected. She is engaging and quick to improv when things don’t go her way, such as some temperamental giant Post-it notes that didn't want to stay stuck at the opening performance. There’s a lot of good meat in the show beyond the references to movie franchises, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her collection of self-help books, and a few LOL-in-your-tights lines (“One does not walk into one’s own metaphorical Mordor alone”).

For this character, the hero’s journey is a little too predictable. “I’m still very unhappy with my story,” she announces. But the audience is not. Luckily, solo performers and superheroes have another thing in common: their future can be filled with new chapters.


Super Mortal continues with the following performances:

  • 9pm | Saturday, June 11 

» Read our interview with Erin Singleton

» Click here to see our listing for Super Mortal

» To see a full schedule of shows, go here Thanks For Reading

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The Hero in Me
At the Dallas Solo Fest, Erin Singleton's Super Mortal is a fine start for a performer not fully aware of her powers. 
by Mark Lowry

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