La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival (WoW), a biennial adventure that has been bringing theater out of buildings and into the wider world since 2013, made a giant leap this year, moving almost all performances to downtown San Diego and beyond.
As before, the four-day event will feature immersive, innovative, site-specific pieces by local and international artists. This year’s venues are as varied as the performers, including San Diego Central Library, The New Children’s Museum, Horton Plaza Park, and Bread & Salt Art Gallery in Barrio Logan.
Here are five WoW Fest highlights, some of them family-friendly. For the complete schedule and tickets, visit wowfestival.org
1) Under Construction: An American Masque
This multimedia masque, presented by Sledgehammer Theatre and the UC San Diego Department of Theatre & Dance, is set in a pop-up banquet hall and features songs, dances and memory collages from then and now, mixing 1950s Norman Rockwell scenes with 21st-century settings by the late, great installation artist Jason Rhoades. Light bites will be available, too.
— 8:15 p.m. Oct. 19; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20; 7 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22 at Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave. Tickets $29.
2) Trisha Brown Dance Company’s In Plain Site
World-famous choreographer Trisha Brown, who died earlier this year at age 80, was one of the founders of post-modern dance. The company she started in 1970 continues her commitment to nontraditional performances in nontraditional settings, and it will perform a selection of her works, specially adapted to two sites on campus: the Stonehenge-y “La Jolla Project” — part of UCSD’s Stuart Collection —and the Revelle College Breezeway.
— 2 and 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22, presented by ArtPower at UCSD (5 p.m. performances followed by artist/audience talkbacks) Tickets: $35.
3) Gob Squad Arts Collective’s Super Night Shot
A magical journey through the night-time streets of San Diego by Gob Squad Arts Collective, a Berlin-based group of British and German artists, whose website declares that they “make performances and videos which search for beauty in the everyday, and look for words of wisdom from a passing stranger.” Viewers become co-stars in a movie that celebrates serendipity and unplanned meetings with strangers, where anything can happen, and usually does.
— 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19-21 at Central Library, 330 Park Blvd. Tickets: $29.
4) FAETOPIA: A Faerie Flash Mob
“Faetopia” is a 10-minute faerie-puppet flash mob designed and directed by master puppeteer Basil Twist, whose “Seafoam Sleepwalk,” featuring a giant puppet Aphrodite rising from the sea at La Jolla Shores, was one of the hits of the inaugural WoW Festival in 2013. Twist will be joined by members of the San Diego Guild of Puppetry and the UC San Diego percussion ensemble red fish blue fish.
—11 a.m., noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22 at The New Children’s Museum, 200 West Island Ave. Tickets: Adults $13 for museum admission, children attend for free.
5) Model Home
An urban installation by multi-award-winning set designer Mimi Lien, this large-scale piece is anchored by a construction crane suspending a bright-colored house in mid-air. The artist poses the question: As the city goes on changing, what makes a home? (Ask about scheduled times for the Crane Ballet.)
— Continuous performances 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 19-22 at Horton Plaza Park, 900 Fourth Ave. Free admission.