Review: ‘Superman 2050’ at The Kennedy Center’s Family Theater

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The Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences is currently presenting an imaginative theatrical experience, Superman 2050, produced by Theater Unspeakable. Founded in 2010 by Marc Frost, Theater Unspeakable works to create new physical theater pieces. Superman 2050 was the company’s first project and they are now developing what will be their fourth original touring production, called Moon Shot, which is based on the 1969 moon landing.

The cast of 'Superman 2050.' Photo courtesy of The Kennedy Center.
The cast of ‘Superman 2050.’ Photo courtesy of The Kennedy Center.

Frost is not only the creator of this unique theater company, but he also performed in and directed Superman 2050. The show is performed on a 7 foot by 3 foot platform with seven players. Using only their bodies and voices for characters, set pieces, sounds, and special effects, the cast acts out their own futuristic adaptation of the tale of Superman.

This physical theater piece is impressive beyond words and is a constant flow of movement and sound that kept my 9 year-old (who I believe is truly incapable of sitting still) glued to his chair. Through clever positioning and precise choreography the performers were able to portray a speeding train, Lois Lane falling from a tall building, and Superman flying through the air.

Each member of the cast plays multiple parts, including fire and wind, and creates every sound in the show, from the clicking of typewriter keys to elevator music.

Making up the cast are Brittany Anderson (Lois Lane), Breon Arzell (Lex Luthor), Flora Bare (Mr. White), Brittany Bookbinder (Jimmy Olsen), Lily Emerson (Bipsy), Marc Frost (Clark Kent/Superman), and Thomas Wynne (Mercy). This remarkable team bobbed, weaved, twisted, and turned on their tiny platform stage, delivering the epic story of Superman in its entirety.

The actors do an incredible job with a demanding piece of physical theater, which is most accurately described in the program as a comic strip with humans.

Frost perfects the soft-spoken, small-town charm of Clark Kent and, playing the villain to Frost’s hero, Arzell is a delightfully menacing Luthor.

As Superman’s love interest, Anderson nails the hard-working, no-nonsense Lois, while Emerson is all sex and strut as Luthor’s pet accomplice, Bipsy.

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With the presentation of Superman 2050, The Kennedy Center continues to bring new and inventive theatrical experiences for their young audiences. Theater Unspeakable’s production is an audio/visual delight and tells a classic tale in a way that sparks the imagination and stretches the boundaries of live theater.

Running Time: Approximately one hour, with no intermission.

Superman 2050 plays through today, Sunday, April 3, 2016, in the Family Theater at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – 2700 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (202) 467-4600, or purchase them online.

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