The leading ladies in ‘Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes’ say channeling their strong characters every day makes them feel stronger both on and off the stage. They hope their audience feels the same way.
It’s one thing to play a superhero in a TV show or movie, but quite another to embody the empowering character seven days a week. That must be exhausting, right?
We caught up with two women who would know.
Taylor Castriota and Caitlyn Larsen are performers in the traveling stage show Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes. In the production, which features aerialists, motorcyclists, stunt men and women (themselves, included), and more than two dozen Marvel characters (like Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Groot), the ladies star as Gamora and Nebula, the antagonistic sisters made popular in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
That means that once or twice a day, the actresses paint their faces (green or blue), wield their weapons (batons or a sword), go out onstage, fight each other, and ultimately save the universe (though Nebula isn’t much help in that arena).
Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes is touring cities in Calif. this month. After that, the show makes its way across the country to cities including Cleveland, Orlando, Dallas and Pittsburgh through March 2019.
Being a hero every day must be tiring, right?
Taylor Castriota (Gamora): 100, 200 shows later, people are like “Aren’t you tired of it?” No, I have a fire in my stomach every time I enter the stage, and you never get tired of hearing the crowd cheer, (but) once we take the costume off and take the makeup off it’s nice to be a normal human.
How do young girls react to the show?
TC: I see tons of girls now and it’s so cool. We have a pose at the very end of our curtain call where we’re standing, (very close to) the audience. One time I (saw a) little girl with her face painted green. I had to hold my character so strong, because she was tearing up. She was so excited.
Caitlyn Larsen (Nebula): We’ve never had this opportunity before to have strength and intelligence and be an example for all of those girls. (My seven-year-old self) would be pretty stoked about where I’m at today.
What were you like as a kid?
CL: The super power I wanted when I was little was a Rogue that could transform and apply any of the powers (for) saving the world… I took my toothbrush and I was digging up the sewer entrance to go play with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I had a life track at a very young age.
What kind of action hero background do you have?
TC: I (have a gymnastics background), played Captain Marvel (in a previous Marvel Live show), did stunts for theme parks in Orlando and did free-fall stunts and driving for film and TV.
CL: I was on live stunt show (where) I got to play both the heroine and the villainess. I’ve studied stage combat training in various weapons (for about five years) and I have a couple years of martial arts (experience).
Is playing a female superhero a big deal to you?
CL: I think it’s absolutely important. It’s 2017. It’s time to be active and engaging in a stance. I believe in strong, powerful women, (and that) there’s no gender difference these days. Do what you want to do, work hard, and earn it.
TC: A lot of time when you see movies there’s so many guys, (so) I really wanted to be a standout female character. Looking in the audience and seeing the audience dressed as Gamora, Black Widow, Black Cat, or even the villain Nebula. It’s so cool to see little girls that are pumped up to be there and they see the girls kicking the guys’ butts.