By MIKE CHAIKEN
Louise Forsley has some substantial credentials when it comes to riding a motorcycle.
She was 2012 X Games silver medalist in EnduroX, 6x Women’s National Trials Champion, 2008 New England Trials Champion, and 7x Trials Des Nations team member.
In the upcoming production of Marvel Universe Live that comes to Bridgeport from March 1 to 4, Forsley, a Massachusetts native, will be transforming herself into Black Widow.
The original character, a former Russian spy, did not ride a motorcycle. However, for Marvel Universe Live, producers adapted the character so Black Widow could become a skilled motorcycle rider to take advantage of Forsley’s skills.
“I feel so fortunate I’m able to ride my bike (and they made it part of the character),” said Forsley in a phone interview. Forsley also said she feels fortunate Marvel Universe Live picked her specifically because they were impressed with her riding skills.
Although Black Widow now rides a motorcycle in Marvel Universe Live, Forsley also acts and performs martial arts. Both skills are new to her.
“The learning curve was huge,” said Forsley of the requirements to perform martial arts stunts and to “transform” into Black Widow on the arena floor.
Acting was an especially new skill for her, said Forsley. “I never did high school plays” or any kind of acting before, said Forsley.
“I was shy (in high school),” said Forsley. “All I wanted to do was ride bikes.”
So once she was on board for Marvel Universe Live, Forsley said, “It was embarrassing at first.” And even now, said Forsley, “I still struggle with (acting).”
Forsley said she eventually learned enough to be get by. She’s still not where she feels she needs to be, she said. But she continues to rehearse and practice while on tour.
Forsley said she wants to pursue a career as a stunt person and she knows acting is a skill she’ll need to succeed.
Fortunately, Forsley said, the 50 cast members of Marvel Universe Live have a variety of different talents. And she often reaches out to them for advice.
“We all help each other,” said Forsley.
Motorcycles have long been part of Forsley’s life. She started competing at age 13 and had been riding before that.
“It’s hard to explain,” she said of her attraction to motorcycles.
Forsley said she didn’t like sports. She didn’t like school.
However, she fell in love with dirt bikes, learning how to make them go fast, and learning the different techniques to perform stunts.
“I’m a bit of a loner,” said Forsley. “Being outside brings me happiness and fulfills me.”
“I’d rather be out riding,” said Forsley.
As part of the cast of Marvel Universe Live, Forsley has the opportunity to meet the fans, especially the young children who come out to the shows looking to catch their favorite superheroes (the story for Marvel Universe Live features Spider-Man and The Avengers, including Iron Man, Hulk and others).
“They’re screaming and excited,” said Forsley of the children who come to the shows. “They’re so enthralled because they believe we are the characters.”
Forsley said Marvel Universe Live is great family entertainment. For the kids, she said, the adventures on stage all seem real. For the adults, she said there are so many stunts “that are really impressive… (and) will keep you on the edge of your seats.”
Marvel Universe Live! is performing at the Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main St., Bridgeport from March 1 to 4. Tickets start at $15 for select performances. All seats are reserved. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or by visiting the Webster Bank Arena.
Performances are Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m., Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 3 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 4 at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.