Hearts Like Fists: a Review

image credit to events.sou.edu

Just a few days ago, Oregon Center for the Arts presented Hearts Like Fists, written by Adam Szymkowics.

The show is a superhero comedy all about the fragility of the heart. Doctor X, a man whose heart has been broken travels around the city, injecting lovers with lethal poison. The city’s only hope lies in the crimefighters; a team of heroines who work to bring him and all other evil to justice. Lisa, a woman who seems to break hearts everywhere she goes, has a heart that beats for a semblance of hope. Maybe she’ll find what she’s looking for when she’s asked to join the crimefighters in taking down the villainous doctor X. If only she wasn’t so hesitant to join because of a budding romance with the handsome Doctor Peter.

The show was a fun take on the dangers of love. It ran for two weeks and included a cast entirely made of SOU students, save for two Spring 2022 graduates. 

What many might not realize is that Hearts Like Fists was meant to premiere last Spring. However, a covid outbreak in the theater building put a stop to everything. And while the show was brought back stronger than ever this fall, the delay complicated the casting situation. 

As said before, two of the main cast graduated (Forest Gilpin as Doctor X, and Chloe Boyan as Nina), but were paid to come back and reprise their roles. However, more complications arose as each was only available to return for one week of the two-week run. 

Luckily, Gilpin’s understudy, Kyler Deanda was available to play Doctor X for the week Gilpin was unavailable, which was planned from the start. 

The role of Nina was a tad more complicated. But thanks to some ingenuity of the crew, Keely Galbreath, who was originally slated to play the role of the Commissioner was able to fill in as Nina during the unavailable week and even learned the entire show in just two weeks. And in another twist, the assistant director for the show filled in to replace Galbreath as the Commissioner. 

Overall a rather confusing situation that led to fantastic results. And while The Siskiyou didn’t get to see all four actors in action, based on the two we did see, The Siskiyou is sure they were all astounding. 

Even before learning about the dual-casting situation, I was unsure what to expect. I’d never heard of Hearts Like Fists and went in completely blind. However, not knowing anything only added to every twist and turn of the show, leading to a very satisfying watch.

The show ran for about an hour and a half with no intermission, but it was easy to get sucked into the story, so the time flew by. 

As is the case for a story all about superheroes, there was a lot of action and combat. The fight scenes were incredibly realistic, and each member of the cast proved adept in gymnastics. It was incredible to see the actors cartwheel and somersault around the stage and each one took my breath away.

One of the best parts of the production was that it took place in the BlackBox theater, a relatively small room, so the audience was up close to the action.

The crew of Hearts Like Fists dealt with numerous complications, but they met every one with grace and made it through the entire 2-week run victoriously. 

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