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Ultimate showdown in therapist's office for BCT show

Where do a superhero and a villain go to resolve their differences? This time the showdown is in couples’ therapy in “My Hero, My Villain,” the new show from Bakersfield Community Theatre.

Writing the one-act was a chance to explore a beloved topic — superheroes — for Emerson Herzog, who uses they/them pronouns.

"I'm a big superhero fan and I love the complex relationships between heroes and their villains so I wanted to try and satirize that relationship," they wrote in an email.

Herzog describes the show as a meta-comedy in which adversaries Agent Chaos, (Josh Evans) and Power Man (Skylar Gaines) seek the counsel of Dr. Fleming (Julie Gaines) when one of them decides to start fighting other people.

"Honestly my favorite part of the show was just writing for the villain Agent Chaos, taking a lot of supervillain tropes and twisting him as kind of a needy ex was a lot of fun," Herzog wrote.

Even though "My Hero, My Villain" is a great fit as a virtual presentation, it was written pre-pandemic for BCT's Annual One Act Festival. Seeing it could be adjusted for the Zoom format, Herzog sent it to Rebecca Worley, the theater's artistic director.

Director Jacquie Thompson-Mercer said she was excited to work in this style after 30 years directing shows on the Harvey Auditorium stage with her Bakersfield High School students. She was also up for the challenge of taking on an original work.

"It’s always a challenge and a privilege to bring new material to life and to have the playwright see and (hopefully) approve of what we have created," she wrote in an email.

Both Thompson-Mercer and Herzog are appreciative of local audiences who have supported theaters during this challenging year and they hope viewers find some laughs in the new show.

Thompson-Mercer wrote, "I hope viewers can take away many things from the show: moments of much needed laughter, a feeling that relationships are complicated but negotiable, and the truth that friendships have many wonderful complexities that can be worked through by willing people!"

Herzog said the local theater community will continue to endure.

They wrote, "BCT is going to keep finding ways to bring shows to people and that we, along with some of the other theatres in town, will continue entertaining as long as we have to until these trying times are over."

"My Hero, My Villain" will go up on BCT's Facebook page at 7:30 p.m. today. After the performance, the cast will stay on to answer questions in a talkback.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.