LINDEN — Four mental hospital patients believe they have special powers and Batman does laundry on his day off as superheroes take the stage tonight at North Montgomery High School.

The double feature of “Super Freaks” and “Superheroes” opens its three-night run at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. It’s a new approach into black box theatre, featuring a stripped-down stage with the audience surrounding the cast.

“I think it creates a good education for the kids to get a different perspective on how staging may look,” director Mike Melvin said.

In “Super Freaks,” written by Scott Haan, reporter Lois Lancaster (Joy Davis) is writing about state-of-the-art mental health facilities when she discovers a hospital where the patients are convinced they’re superheroes.

A dimwitted patient wears tighty-whities on the outside of his pants, a T-shirt with a light bulb on it and bright yellow shoes. Another believes he was given the ability to run at the speed of sound. Then there’s the woman with the headphones around her neck that doesn’t want the others to know about her superpowers.

“And she refuses to wear a costume,” said sophomore Alecsandra Baldwin, who plays Kate Bendis.

Lancaster initially finds the tales amusing until an unexpected turn of events begins to convince her that the patients may actually have special talents.

Senior Lane Bradley, portraying the underwear-clad Dim Bulb, began his stage career on the crew of a show at Northridge Middle School. As an eighth grader, he was cast as Captain Hook in “Peter Pan.”

“And that’s when I really fell in love with [theatre],” Bradley said.

In Ian McWethy’s “Superheroes,” comic book legends take a vacation day. The stress of tax day transforms the anger-prone She Hulk (Amanda Heline) into her bulging green alter ego.

Heline, who recently moved to Montgomery County from Tennessee, joined the Charger stage already a theatre veteran.

“It was a big transition and theatre’s one of my big outlets,” she said. 

Seating is extremely limited for tonight and Friday’s shows. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased at the door. Online ticket purchases are available for Saturday’s performance only at bit.ly/nmfinearts.

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