Despite its name, Wondergirl isn't another entry to the comic book movie party. No, Wondergirl is a play, and the name's a nod to a more unsung type of hero. The first play by local favorite actor and director Rutherford Cravens, the work centers on Hal and his wife, Jenny, who, after a miscarriage, gets pregnant with twins. When Jenny goes into labor only 24 weeks into the pregnancy, the two have to determine their stance on a hot-button issue: When does medical technology preserve a life, and when does it simply postpone death? Amidst this crisis, the dutiful staff of the neonatal ICU keeps Hal and Jenny's wondergirl afloat.
"The awful thing is that whenever I talk about it, it seems so gloomy," says Cravens. "Like the kind of thing you decide to do when you find the Holocaust Museum too festive." But, he adds, "There are some bona fide laughs. There have to be." Well, hey, ER is funny, too.
Written during the turbulence of the Terri Schiavo case, Wondergirl is more heavily influenced by end-of-life issues than the mystery of birth. But his characters aren't just his parrots or a personal soap box. "I'd always heard from other playwrights about the characters taking over, and I just assumed that was a bit of art crap," he says with a laugh. "Then there were times I'd be writing and I'd just say 'Oh no! This is what she's gonna do.' Once you have an idea of who they are, they have their own sort of trajectory." 8 p.m. today; Wondergirl runs through February 19. For tickets and showtimes, call 713-524-6706 or visit www.mainstreettheater.com. $20 to $35.