Comic Books

Hearts Like Fists Brings Comic Book-Style Crimefighting to the Stage

Comments (0)


Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM
click to enlarge Crimefighters in Hearts Like Fists - PHOTO BY MANDI MOSS
  • photo by Mandi Moss
  • Crimefighters in Hearts Like Fists

With two well-reviewed shows running in LA at the same time, theater director and writer Jaime Robledo is at a career high. Hot off the success of Stoneface -- the play about Buster Keaton that has been extended this month at Sacred Fools -- Robledo is now tackling a different genre: comic book-style crime fiction.

A chop-socky cartoon on stage, Hearts Like Fists, written by Adam Szymkowicz, is an action-packed adventure romance set in the surreal world of female crime-fighting superheroes. Nurses by day, skilled warriors by night, a squad of ferocious and feisty femmes battles the dastardly and elusive Dr. X and his deadly war against romance.

No stranger to sensational premises, playwright Adam Szymkowicz has fashioned a cartoony story about a team of bad-ass female crime fighters on the trail of a killer. In Hearts Like Fists, tortured and lovelorn villain Dr X is sneaking into apartments late at night and injecting lovers with a deadly serum that stops their hearts.

A striking young woman named Lisa becomes the newest recruit to the Crimefighters, a team of tough women hell-bent on stopping evildoers. Meanwhile Peter, a heart doctor, is trying to create an artificial heart that can be mass-produced so that no one will be afraid to sleep with his or her lover again.

An engaging, one-act stage thriller, Hearts Like Fists delivers hot action, peril, comedy and high romance interspersed with nunchuck fights. Szymkowicz's plot has the feel of a graphic novel brought to life onstage. But his examination of heartbreak and romance adds depth to his cartoony story. Admits Szymkowicz, "I do like playing with genre. I have a cowboy comedy Hamlet play and a film noir/action movie play, a lesbian pirate play and a mob clown play."

Szymkowicz concocts his tales and lets the theater experts bring it to life. "Staging is not something I usually worry about as long as it's not impossible," he says. "I leave that to the director and Jaime did awesome work."

Robledo chimes in, explaining, "Well, it is satire. It is kind of just a metaphor for dealing with a broken heart, and all these characters are just driven one way or another by a broken heart and how they deal with it. Mainly these two characters [the doctor and the killer] deal with heartbreak in different ways. One goes into his work as trying to save lives and one goes into his work trying to end them."

He adds, "It's an incredibly technical show, and very specific because we're dealing with a lot of movement. There's a lot of fight choreography, so with every hit there is a sound associated with it and there are different sounds coming from different speakers. Plus there's music on top of that, as well as lighting and choreographed moves. The way Adam Szymkowicz has structured the play is that there are big, chunky scenes at the beginning of the show and then it becomes short and staccato at the end."

Hearts Like Fists plays select Thursdays, and Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Through Sept. 1. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 856-8611, www.theatreofnote.com

Follow us on Twitter at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.

Related Location

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Around The Web


  • Ringo Starr's #PeaceRocks Birthday Party
    Ringo Starr's 74th Birthday celebration was held at Capitol Records Monday. The birthday boy, along with fashion designer John Varvatos, launched the #peacerocks campaign to raise funds for Starr's Peace & Love fund, which is a part of David Lynch's non-profit organization. Starr's wife Barbara, and countless musician friends, showed up to support Starr and his fundraiser by posting selfies galore on social media with #peacerocks hashtags, raising $1 per hit. After blowing out candles and greeting fans, Starr handed out bracelets and cupcakes for all to join his celebration. All photos by Michele McManmon.
  • Moon Crisis: A Sailor Moon Tribute Art Show
    Rothick Art Haus opened the Moon Crisis Art Show, curated by Katie McAtee, Stephanie Ignacio Han and Jane Kim Estantino, on Saturday night, and the superfans lined up to celebrate all things Sailor Moon. The event featured artwork by Miss Kika, Greg DeStefano, Jamie Meckel Tablason, Creature of Habit, Carlton, Elizabeth Beals, Aimee Steinberger, The Quarter House and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.
  • TwentyWonder @ The Doll Factory
    TwentyWonder celebrated its fifth year of wonderment by taking over the L.A. Derby Dolls' home at the Doll Factory on July 13th. TwentyWonder, run by Jim Hodgson (brother of MST3K's Joel Hodgson), is a one-of-a-kind, one-night only event featuring Roller Derby, Cirque Berzerk, H.R. Pufnstuf "Mayor of Living Island," Dengue Fever, The Lampshades and more. All proceeds benefit DSALA's efforts to support those born with Down syndrome in the greater Los Angeles area. All photos by Star Foreman.