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Superheroes have identity issues. The caped crusaders in Gwydion Suilebhan’s play Reals, the world premiere that launches Theater Alliance’s 10th anniversary season tonight, are no exception. But Nightlife, Belt, and Sensei differ from Superman and Wonder Woman in one critical way: They don’t have any powers. They are ordinary citizens who choose to don masks and fight crime in their community. While Suilebhan’s characters are fictitious, the not-so-superheroes’ behavior is, well, real—the playwright draws inspiration from Phoenix Jones, leader of Seattle’s crime-prevention unit Rain City Superhero Movement. Director Shirley Serotsky says the crime-fighting characters in Reals respond extremely to the circumstances that motivate others to vote, start nonprofits, or make art. “It is incredible to re-create your own self,” says Serotsky. “But is it always smart, or even possible?”
The play runs to Sept. 16 at H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE. $20–$35. theateralliance.com. (202) 241-2539.