Keizer Homegrown Theatre takes stage Friday

Of the Keizertimes

Jay Gipson-King, president of the Salem Theatre Network, is bringing something unique to Keizer.

Hearts Like Fists, Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s spring production, debuting Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m. in the Chemeketa Community College auditorium, comes from the Geek Theater: Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Plays.

“It’s a comic book play, really,” Gipson-King said. “One of my goals was to bring in something new and exciting and targets a younger audience and maybe get some people that don’t normally go to the theatre.”

To reach that group, the cast of Hearts Like Fists had a booth at Cherry City Comic Con. They’ll also be at Tony’s Kingdom of Comics on Saturday May 6—Free Comic Book Day.

Penelope Wright Bays and Craig Will battle during Hearts Like Fists, debuting at Chemeketa Community College on Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

The playwright, Adam Szymkowicz, has created a four panel comic strip about the play that will be handed out at the event. The strip will be illustrated by Annmare Cruz, daughter of Tony Grove, owner of Tony’s Kingdom of Comics.

Hearts Like Fists tells the story of four female crime fighters, Lisa, played by Rachael Wiggins, Sally, played by Penelope Wright Bays, Nina, played by Elizabeth Ming and Jazmin, played by Kyrie Haskins, as they defend the city against Doctor X (Craig Will), who is sneaking into apartments and injecting lovers with a lethal poison.

The cast also includes Sam Byers-Tibbits, who portrays Peter, a lonely heart surgeon who has failed at love until he meets Lisa. Mike Jaffe plays the commissioner of the city and Mathew Willem and Elijah Rodriguez make up the ensemble.

“It’s very strongly feminist,” Gipson-King said. “It’s an all female crime fighting team and they get to wield weapons and fight the bad guy and it’s all very exciting.”

The cast worked with John Elliot, a choreographer from Eugene, blocking the five fight scenes over just three days.

“It’s pretty amazing and speaks very highly of John’s skill level as a choreographer,” Gipson-King said. “He specializes in exciting flashy style of fighting as well as the weapons. Every night (of rehearsal) we do fight call over and over again.”

Additional shows are April 29 and 30 and May 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are scheduled for April 30 and May 7 at 2 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of the play.

Tickets are $15 and available at the door or online at Brown Paper Tickets

The show is recommended for ages 10 and older.

“There’s one pretty sexy kissing scene,” Gipson-King said.

The first 25 ticket holders can enjoy a free cupcake happy hour with sparkling cider and coffee.

The auditorium is in Building 6 at Chemeketa Community College. The closest parking is in the purple lot.