WoW Festival will light up La Jolla Playhouse … and beyond, Oct. 3-6
By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
Something wow-derful is coming to La Jolla Playhouse Oct. 3-6. It’s the Without Walls (WoW) Festival, a special event featuring site-specific works from around the world that will turn the LJP’s Theatre District into a Festival Village, a grand agora where free outdoor performances will be staged, food and drinks will be available, and people from all over San Diego will be able to interact with participating artists and each other.
In partnership with UC San Diego’s Theatre & Dance Department and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Playhouse is offering an impressive array of entertainments at venues on campus and beyond with something to please every taste. Some of the notable ones follow; the categories are mine.
This is just a small part of what WoW has to offer. If all goes well, the festival will become a biennial event. But don’t miss this year’s premiere, coming soon.
• Tales of Two Women Enroute to Unhappy Endings (presented by UCSD Theatre & Dance Department)
‘Hedda-ing’ — M.F.A. candidate Sam Mitchell joins Norway-based dance theater artists Siri Jondtvedt and Snelle Hall to explore, in movement, some of the underlying issues in Ibsen’s classic play “Hedda Gabler.” The setting: the gardens of Do Ho Suh’s precariously balanced Stuart Collection artwork “Fallen Star,” on the roof of the Jacobs School of Engineering.
‘A Willow Grows Aslant: An Ophelia Story’ — M.F.A. candidates Kristin Idaszak, Natalie Khuen and Kate Jopson reimagine “Hamlet” from the POV of a young woman torn between her father’s ambitions, her boyfriend’s revenge fantasies and her own private dreams. The setting: the labyrinthine basement corridors of Galbraith Hall.
• The Art of Storytelling, Real & Virtual (presented by MCASD)
‘Futuristic Retro Ritual’ — Performance artist James Luna, a Luiseño Indian living on the La Jolla Reservation in northeast San Diego, puts his own spin on the tradition of the American Indian storyteller.
‘Orifice II’ — Video/performance artist Jacolby Satterwhite gives a live, projection-enhanced dance performance as one of the avatars in his 3-D animations.
• Close Encounters in Small Spaces
‘Counterweight: An Elevator Love Play’ — A co-production of LJP and Moxie Theatre, directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, this 20-minute play takes each audience of five on an actual elevator ride, where they get to peek into the private lives of three different couples on three different floors.
Moving Arts’ ‘The Car Plays: San Diego’ — They’re back! A hit at LJP in 2012, this clever series of 10-minute plays, conceived by L.A.-based artistic producer Paul Stein, all take place inside a car. Audiences of two move from vehicle to vehicle, experiencing a range of mini-dramas, each one unfolding a car-seat away. Several old favorites return, along with new pieces by local playwrights.
• DIY City, Renovated ‘Town’
‘We Built This City’ — Australia’s Polyglot Theatre, whose motto is “Theater is child’s play,” brings thousands of cardboard boxes to Revelle Plaza, inviting children (and adults) of all ages to build a cardboard city in a day … and then destroy it.
‘Our Town’ — LJP’s Princess Grace Award-winner Tom Dugdale gives a new look to the Thornton Wilder play, presenting it as a backyard barbecue under the stars, with audiences encouraged to share the soda pop. All the actors are UCSD Theatre alums, like Dugdale, who also teaches graduate directing and is Line Producer of the Festival.
• Scheib’speare-in-the-Park and a new Twist at the Shores
Jay Scheib’s ‘Platonov’ — Writer/director/designer Jay Scheib, listed by American Theater Magazine as one of 25 artists who will shape the next 25 years of theater, turns his own adaptation of Chekhov’s first full-length play into a live cinema performance about society on the brink of foreclosure. Part Shakespeare-in-the-Park, part drive-in movie, it will be performed in the grassy area around another Stuart Collection artwork, Richard Fleischner’s “Stonehenge.”
‘Seafoam Sleepwalk’ — When the Playhouse commissioned renowned puppeteer Basil Twist (whose work was last seen here in “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”) to create a piece for the Festival, he chose the mythic birth of Aphrodite, with the goddess of love emerging full-grown from the sea. Audiences will gather at La Jolla Shores for the event, performed by puppets, with a soundscape by Japanese master musician Yumiko Tanaka.
If you go
What: Without Walls (WoW) Festival
When: Oct. 3-6
Where: La Jolla Playhouse Theatre District and other venues on-and-off UC San Diego campus
Admission: WoW events are priced $5-$25; many are free
Related Events: 7-10 p.m. Oct. 3, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla kicks off the festival with TNT, its signature Thursday Night Thing, including outdoor art-making and music by Lady Dottie & the Diamonds.
For full schedule of events, detailed info & tickets, see lajollaplayhouse.org/wowfestival
Note: ‘The Car Plays’ and ‘Platonov’ have extended performances, Oct. 10-13
The short, happy history of WoW
• Fall, 2011: La Jolla Playhouse’s WoW initiative, designed to break the barriers of traditional theater and funded by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, was launched with ‘Susurrus,’ an iPod play with music that was also a stroll in the park. (San Diego Botanic Garden)
• Winter, 2012: ‘The Car Plays: San Diego’ made its debut at the Playhouse. (LJP parking lot)
• Fall, 2012: ‘Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir’ brought a 1950s Greenwich Village nightclub back to life. (Hillcrest)
• Spring/Summer, 2013: ‘Accomplice: San Diego,’ part game, part street theater, part walking adventure, was the spinoff of a production that originated in New York City. (Little Italy)
• Fall, 2013: First WoW Festival at La Jolla Playhouse … and beyond.
- On the Fringe: La Jolla Playhouse part of San Diego-bound avant-garde festival
- Here’s your chance to solve a crime: Become a detective in Accomplice: San Diego, a La Jolla Playhouse WoW production
- Actor Henry Woronicz embarks on a lofty odyssey of the imagination in An Iliad at La Jolla Playhouse
- Plenty of hoo-doo and hilarity make ‘A Dram of Drummhicit’ a hit at the La Jolla Playhouse
- Local theaters join forces to present acclaimed one-woman show, ‘Let Me Down Easy,’ about health care conundrum
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