Amazing Adventures in Local Theater

So, with there being no Firefly post this week, I suddenly found myself with some free time. What did I do with it? I went to a local small theater and pub called The Browncoat. I am not pulling your leg, this place does exist, and it is awesome, from having drink specials such as a Firefly and a Sihnon Sunset, to signed pictures of the Firefly cast, to tourism posters for the different worlds of the ‘verse.

And what did I see in this shiny pocket of geekdom? A home-grown production called Catastropolis, by Justin Cioppa. In the city of Catastropolis, being a super-hero or super-villain is just another job, and the story focuses on seven particularly bad super-villains. That is to say, they are bad at what they do.

So, what happens? In short, they need a new roommate because their old one, Hydro, broke the rules and simply shot a hero in the face. The Anonymous Gordon, an idealist who lives by “the code” took Hydro out, and the play starts with the seven roommates wondering what they are going to do when the head office finds out, not to mention how they will make rent. Hilarity ensues as they are put on probation by Tik Tok, their boss, and then they, in desperation, accept a “normal” as a new roommate. But Lucy Fro, a hero-comic cartoonist, has her own secrets.

This is hardly the only crazy production Browncoat has put on. Not all that long ago, I had the great thrill of seeing Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long blog, the stage production. And yes, it was actually sing-a-long; if you knew the words, you were encouraged to help out. Heck, the real audience was the stage audience in the final act. Captain Hammer shook my hand! Dr. Horrible pointed a death ray at me! Squee!

So, how did this gem come to be? Well, the company that runs The Browncoat Pub & Theatre is Guerilla Theatre, founded in 2004 and completely non-profit in the support of emerging local artists. And when I say completely, I mean completely. Even the profits from the bar go towards this end. So, as they say at The Browncoat, if you want to support local theatre, get drunk!

The Browncoat itself was opened in 2007, and while I haven’t heard a clear answer to why the Firefly theme aside from the obvious (because it’s shiny), it definitely makes for an interesting night out in a close setting. And any play that lets me sip on a margarita while I watch is definitely A-OK by me.

So what am I getting at? If you are ever in the Wilmington, NC area, check this place out. And if you aren’t, go forth and find local independent theatre wherever you are. You never know what nuggets like this are to be found. Heck, Wilmington downtown alone has five local theatres, and one of the other ones, City Stage, put on Evil Dead: The Musical a few Halloweens ago. Even people who aren’t big live-theatre fans can get into that, I think.

Richard Fife is blogger, writer, and staunch follower of the Super-Villain Code. You can find more of his ramblings and some of his short stories at


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