Theater Notebook: La Jolla Playhouse unveils partial lineup for spring Without Walls Festival
Also in this week’s San Diego theater report: Moxie pushes back ‘Sapience’ opening night by one week
La Jolla Playhouse has announced the first nine of more than 20 international and local shows planned for its 2022 Without Walls Festival this spring.
Here’s a look at some of the site-specific, immersive and interactive shows that will be presented in the Arts District at Liberty Station from April 21 to 24. More will be announced in the coming months. Tickets will range from free to $20. For more details, visit lajollaplayhouse.org/without-walls.
“Ants” from Polyglot Theatre, Australia: Previously featured at the 2015 and 2019 WOW fest with its interactive children’s shows “We Built This City” and “Boats,” Polyglot returns with “Ants,” which brings three giant ants together with children to figure out what to do with a giant trail of breadcrumbs means. Children will help the ants transform a public space with lines and patterns. The production will feature Inlet Dance Theatre.
‘Ascension” from San Diego Opera: Two female opera singers will sing a cappella choral pieces as they walk through the parks and historic areas of Liberty Station. As the walk, their attire will transform, taking them from early 20th century suffragette to early 21st century modern American women. The songs, written by composer Melissa Dunphy and librettist Jacqueline Goldfinger, include “Halcyon Days,” about finding hope in the depth of despair, and “Set Myself Free,” about the freedom women found in America, beginning with the right to vote.
“Black Séance” from Blindspot Collective, San Diego: Returning from the 2019 WOW Fest at Liberty Station, Blindspot Collective of San Diego will perform in a New Orleans-style bar, where a bartender-magician tells his mysterious family history and conjures up images and stories of his Black cultural heroes, including Frederick Douglass, Josephine Baker and James Baldwin, as well as Eartha Kitt and Redd Foxx.
“La Bulle” from CORPUS, Canada: Last seen at WOW in 2015 with its amusing show “A Flock of Flyers,” CORPUS returns with this solo show featuring the clownlike character Pierrot, a mime, dancer and artist, performing a show about solitude, dreams and social distancing inside a giant snow globe-like bubble.
The Frontera Project from Tijuana Hace Teatro, Mexico, & New Feet Productions, New York City: The Frontera Project is an interactive, bilingual theater experience created and performed by a company of Mexican and U.S. artists. They use theater, music, movement and play to engage the audience in a compassionate conversation about life at the U.S./Mexico Border. Its mission is to create the possibility for recognition across differences of perspective, identity and experience.
“Lessons in Temperament” from Outside the March, Canada: Writer-performer-musician James Smith will perform this one-man play about four neuro-diverse brothers, told through the art and science of piano tuning. James and his brothers have dealt with obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He tells their story as he tunes a piano onstage, a metaphor for how all humans are tuned differently.
“Monuments” from Craig Walsh, Australia: This outdoor site-specific nighttime projection installation will transform trees into sculptural monuments as a way of challenging the traditional expectations associated with public monuments and the selective history they represent.
“On Her Shoulders We Stand” from TuYo Theatre, San Diego: This walk-through, immersive theatrical installation, which will first be presented in February with Turnkey Theatre in Barrio Logan, tells the story of Latina women in the U.S. during World War II. Audience members will hear the hidden stories of Latina women who, although not accepted as Americans during the 1940s, still joined the war effort at home.
SDUSD 2022 Honors Theatre Devised Project, San Diego: La Jolla Playhouse and visual and performing arts teachers in the San Diego Unified School District are collaborating on an original play that will be devised by 33 high school students.
‘Sapience’ opening postponed
Moxie and TuYo theaters are the latest local theater companies to postpone the opening night of their January production, “Sapience.” Since early January, local theater companies have postponed six full productions and two new play festivals.
Diana Burbano’s “Sapience” was scheduled to make its world premiere on Wednesday, Jan. 26, but due to concerns related to the Omicron surge, the companies decided to push the opening back a week. Performances will run Feb. 3 through 20 at Moxie Theatre.
The company will also offer a filmed version of the play for streaming at scheduled times on Feb. 12, 15, 16 and 19 for ticket-buyers who would feel safer watching the show from home. Details on the streaming dates and about the play can be found at moxietheatre.com.
San Diego Rep screens ‘Picasso’
San Diego Repertory Theatre is hosting an encore presentation of a filmed version of Herbert Siguenza’s solo play “A Weekend with Pablo Picasso” through Feb. 6.
Siguenza’s play made its world premiere at the Rep in 2010. In 2020, original stage director Todd Salovey and Tim Powell turned the stage play into a feature-length movie that was filmed in locations around San Diego and presented for on-demand screenings. Siguenza stars as Picasso, who paints, sculpts, tells stories, dances and clowns during a weekend on the Southern coast of France in 1957.
Tickets are being sold on a “pay what you can” basis, ranging from $15 to $250. To order, visit sdrep.org.
Pam Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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