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Austin, TX 78701 Map

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The Girl Who Plays the Boy Wonder


Kaci Beeler, in addition to being The Hideout’s Director of Visual Design, is also the creator and director of The Hideout’s hit show, Holy 1960s Batman, Batman! She also, for some crazy reason, plays Robin the Boy Wonder.

On the eve of the show’s return for two Halloween-themed nights of capes, criminals, and crime-fighting, we decided to ask Kaci some questions about the show and her role in it.

You’ve said repeatedly that your goal with Holy 1960s Batman, Batman is to make it as true to the original show as possible. So the obvious question is, why are you playing Robin, when you’re, you know, a girl?

Kaci: Hah! You ask the tough ones first! Okay, okay. Well, I’ve been a fan of Robin since waaaay back. Like way back to when I was 15 and first saw the original show on TV Land. I guess I knew about Robin being Batman’s partner before that, but it was seeing Burt Ward – young, adorable, and over-zealous, fighting crime in a brightly colored costume – that really brought the character to my attention.

After that one encounter, I set forth with a new hobby (bird watching?). I read countless Robin comics (yes, he has his own comic, well, *they* do… there are multiple Robins), watched way too many episodes of both the television and animated series, dressed as Robin for halloween, drew myself as Robin in a self-portrait, and just in general became a big ole dorky fan of the little bird.

Fast forward to several years later, when improviser Jeremy Lamb asked me to do a duo show with him in December of 2006. We wondered aloud what kind of specific format we could do, and an idea popped into my head. What about a two-person 1960s Batman episode? He didn’t really know the show, but we watched some of it together and then BAM, did the show. It was super, super fun, and the seed was planted in my mind for a future show concept. I played Robin in this duo show, along with a lot of the other characters. It just seemed natural to me. I enjoyed playing him true to the way Burt Ward did. And I’m young and have a lot of spunk myself. It just made sense.

Following in the footsteps of actresses like Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby who played Peter Pan, I believe that onstage a girl can play a prepubescent boy really well, sometimes better than a grown man can. I considered casting a dude in the role if I found a guy who could do it, but ultimately I was excited by the challenge to take on the role myself and play it as honestly as I could. Also, I’ve always had a soft spot in my storytelling heart for adventurous young male characters.

What do you like most about Robin?

Kaci: The 1960s Robin? Well, I’d have to say his over-eager nature paired with his squeaky-clean and naive point of view. His is just so. darn. ready. to fight those criminals and so. darn. irked. by their plots on the poor unsuspecting masses of Gotham City. I love the sharp little nods he makes as he pounds his fist into his hand. Like he’s paying attention to the goings-on 100% at every given moment.

I also love that he’s a “normal” teenager the rest of the time… if “normal” is an over-achiving, straight-A student, who is in several clubs and on several sports teams, as well as a regular practitioner of whatever new hobby Bruce Wayne throws his way. Burt Ward said Dick Grayson was completely “anti-septic”, and I just love that description.

What do you think is the essence of the relationship between Batman and Robin?

Kaci: Trust and respect. They completely trust each other in their roles. Robin thinks the world of Batman and is forever learning and growing under his…dare I say it…wing. 🙂

Even though Robin is just a teen, Batman really trusts him in this important crime-fighting role, and with his secret identity. The respect is undeniable. You don’t see them question each other’s authority. Robin doesn’t back-talk Batman in the 1960s show. When Robin questions Batman, or vice-versa, it happens in this academic, almost intellectual discussion kind of way, like two scientists examining what’s under a microscope.

Now…in our show, well. Let’s just say we have more fun with the dynamic. Robin and Batman overstep their bounds sometimes. Hilarity ensues.

Have you sustained any injuries in the fight scenes so far?

Kaci: Haha! Yes. Sadly. It’s really easy to become over-excited in the moment and hurt yourself in an improv show. You’re riding this performance high and it seems as though nothing can hurt you. You move faster than you need to and you forget to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Well, if your name is Kaci Beeler and you’re playing Robin to Deano Jones’ Batman, you’re going to get hurt. Batman has stomped on my feet (numerous times), picked me up so hard he knocked the wind out of me, punched me in the arm and side, and flung me across the stage into other people/set pieces/the floor. All on accident, of course. Henchmen have picked me up and choked me, banged my limbs into other people/set pieces/the floor as they carried me off, and stepped on my feet (numerous times).
None of this was too serious, all on accident, and mostly lead to me yelling, “Ouch!” or “Put me down! Seriously!” or “Batman, you’re my worst enemy!”

As a director I can yell, “slow down!” in rehearsal. Onstage, I can only react in character. My girlish squeal becomes an adolescent squeak, and comedy results from pain. I can always kick Deano’s shins in revenge backstage when he isn’t paying attention. In fact, I usually do. I mean, if I’m going to play a child, why can’t I sometimes act like one?

Holy 1960s Batman returns Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th at 8pm. Tickets are available here.

“Come see my show!” -teenage Kaci

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