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by Brad Fraser

Drama-Logue Award

[Performance (Erik Kever Ryle)]

3 Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award Nominations

[Principal Performance, Male (Steven Patterson); Supporting Performance, Female (Janet Keller);

Lighting Design (John Sowle & Larry Ackerman)]

From left: Erik Kever Ryle, Marin Van Young and Steven Patterson

Directed and Designed by John Sowle, Projections by Larry Ackerman, Sound Design by Steven Patterson, Stage Managers, Joseph Graham and Bill Parker

with Paul Anelli, Janet Keller, Steven Patterson, Erik Kever Ryle and Marin Van Young

Opened February 6, 1997 at the SOMAR Theatre; San Francisco, CA

"A stunning production!"     Douglas W. Gordy, The Slant

"Clever and witty and definitely worth seeing! The play is almost cinematic in form, shifting swiftly from one locale to another and with dialogue which is terse, sparse and sometimes brutally realistic ... Excellently staged by John Sowle and well acted by its cast ... Tall, lean and hard-muscled Steven Patterson seems to be making a career of frontal nudity in gay plays; in addition to this, however, he also happens to be a very good actor. His David is consumed with frustration and yearning. Erik Kever Ryle is extremely fine as Matt, delivering a subtly nuanced portrait of a young man confused by emotions and desires which he doesn't understand; Paul Anelli is warm and sympathetic as the man dying of AIDS, and in the roles of Violet and Kryla both Marin Van Young and Janet Keller also do outstandingly good work."

--- Dean Goodman, Drama-Logue

"A frank and frisky, pop culture-driven comedy with death and loneliness on its mind and sex in its loins ... Poor Super Man is something of a comic book take on the play it most resembles, Tony Kushner's Angels in America. The scope is much smaller, but the aspirations are similar: to depict the messiness of marriage, friendship, heterosexuality, homosexuality, transvestism, the artistic temperament, and, of course, the nightmare of AIDS ... Under the quicksilver direction of John Sowle, who also designed the bold primary color set in the newly remodeled SOMAR Theatre, the cast of five easily finds the rhythms in Fraser's ultra-colloquial dialogue ... Steven Patterson is the artist and carries off the numb glibness of the role with bravado and sexy swagger. Erik Kever Ryle as the sexually confused husband is especially good ... Local drag star Paul Anelli, whose character, Shannon, is described as 'a man turning into a woman,' provides the show's emotional heartbeat. His drag is, of course, excellent, and he imbues Shannon with a grounded truth and natural good humor ... Highly entertaining!"

--- Chad Jones, Bay Area Reporter

"Metropolitan Stage Pick! ... To the uninitiated, the phrase 'bad boy of Canadian theater' might seem akin to 'sensitive auteur of professional wrestling,' yet Brad Fraser's new play, Poor Super Man, makes one realize that he came by the title honestly ... An erotic and emotional car crash of a play that deftly maps the treacherous terrain between gay and straight, bourgeois and bohemian, male and female. Matters are also helped by Kaliyuga Arts' wonderfully protean stage design and the swift, almost cinematic pacing, which further sharpens Fraser's already witty dialogue ... A bit like an episode of Friends written by Paul Rudnick and directed by Peter Greenaway, yet there's a diamond-hard emotional core ... Like the X-ray vision and godlike strength possessed by Superman (whose recent comic-book death and resurrection are commented on within the play), Fraser's characters boast verbal abilities that mortals only dream of, but which offer scant protection from the chunks of kryptonite life throws their way."

--- Zack Stentz, The Metropolitan

"Beyond Awesome! ... All five actors are excellent ... Stunningly accurate, fabulous and fun! There is something for everyone to relate to."

--- Sam and Ebon, Oblivion Magazine

From left: Paul Anelli and Steven Patterson

[Guardian Recommends] "Hip, sarcastic and randy! ... If Fraser is attracted to his figures' fatalistic, hypersexualized, hard-drinking and -drugging surface, he also manages to credibly capture mutual dependencies and the wrecking-ball effect that uncontrollable passion can have on them ... Kaliyuga Arts' production matches the author's high-octane demands with a sleekly designed, thoughtfully acted package."

--- Dennis Harvey, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Canadian bad-boy playwright Brad Fraser is back! Poor Super Man, his 'play with captions' at the SOMAR Theatre, works plenty of sex, nudity, polymorphous passion and a pre-op transsexual into a soap-opera plot set on Calgary's bohemian fringe ... The short scenes in John Sowle's production skitter along briskly, with Larry Ackerman's projected captions floating like thought balloons over the duplicitous characters' heads."

--- Steven Winn, San Francisco Chronicle

"This handsome production of an adult, witty and insightful script features intelligent performances by some great local actors. David [is] played with butch gusto by Steven Patterson ... Janet Keller is marvelous! One of SF's best, her name on a cast list is always a welcome sight ... Paul Anelli renders a well-modulated, subtly affecting performance. Marin Van Young spits nails as the no-nonsense wife and talented Erik Kever Ryle plays the adaptable husband ... As director, John Sowle keeps the action moving at a good clip, yet still affords the actors time for gradual yet intense character development. As designer, Sowle created a boldly colorful set that looks great and features four islands of performance space. His lighting design always provides appropriate ambience and serves to isolate each locale, thereby facilitating the many dozens of instantaneous scene changes ... For theatergoers who love intense drama, Poor Super Man captures and communicates poignant universals."

--- Tom W. Kelly, San Francisco Bay Times

"A hip cocktail of polysexual humping, sardonic humor and urban ennui!"

--- San Francisco Focus Magazine

Janet Keller
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