La Jolla Playhouse presents free Pop-Up Without Walls festival at Liberty Station this weekend

An audience watches Jesca Prudencio's "PDA" at La Jolla Playhouse's 2019 Without Walls Festival at Liberty Station.
An audience watches Jesca Prudencio’s “PDA” at La Jolla Playhouse’s 2019 Without Walls Festival at Liberty Station in Point Loma. Prudencio’s new “Can We Now?” will be featured at the Pop-Up WOW fest at Liberty Station Aug. 14-15.
(Jim Carmody)

Two-day event will feature three plays and one interactive installation Aug. 14-15.


After producing more than a dozen online shows over the past 17 months in its all-digital Without Walls Festival, La Jolla Playhouse will return to performances before live audiences this weekend in a Pop-Up WOW festival in Point Loma.

Four free events created by mostly San Diego County theater artists will be presented at the Arts District in Liberty Station. The program will include three shows featuring theater, music, song and dance and an interactive caravan theater installation suitable for children of all ages.

No reservations are necessary to attend the afternoon events Saturday, Aug. 14, and Sunday, Aug. 15, but audience members are encouraged to bring their own blankets or beach chairs. Playhouse signage will be set up at event locations, but fest-goers are encouraged to sign up for reminders, updates, program changes or surrounding events at

The three performance-based programs will be presented as an 80-minute series beginning at 1 and 5 p.m. Aug. 14 and noon and 3 p.m. Aug. 15 on the North Promenade lawn. The fourth event, the interactive “Optika Piñata,” will be available between and after the lawn shows in a courtyard just off North Promenade.

Veteran WOW presenter David Israel Reynoso said “Optika Piñata” is his first Optika Moderna show for families. He has tested it with his own children, ages 4 and 7. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, he liked the idea of creating a show that encourages empathy and kindness for others, he said.

“The lore of Optika is that it’s all about creating bold experiences that peer through the eyes of another. This will allow you to see something through a different perspective,” he said.

Here is an overview of the programs being presented for Pop-Up WOW:

‘Get on Board’

San Diego Black Artist Collective presents "Get on Board" at La Jolla Playhouse's Pop-Up WOW Aug. 14-15 at Liberty Station.
San Diego Black Artist Collective presents “Get on Board” at La Jolla Playhouse’s Pop-Up WOW festival Aug. 14-15 at Liberty Station.
(Rich Soublet II)

San Diego Black Artist Collective presents this musical journey through the 400-year evolution of Black music in America. The revue explores the cultural traditions that Black people carry with them through music and how the music encourages future generations.

The cast includes Joy Yvonne Jones, John Wells III, Eboni Muse, Bryan Barbarin and more.

‘Can We Now?’

Director, playwright and past WOW Festival playwright Jesca Prudencio will present a new celebratory dance theater piece that takes a playful look at how we are cautiously, clumsily and joyfully coming out of isolation and into community with one another.

It features live music, hugging and a dance flash mob.

‘When the Bubble Bursts’

Blindspot Collective returns to WOW with a new show inspired by the words and reflections of local artists and community members. Blending music, movement and text, it’s a meditation on human connection and impermanence that celebrates resilience and is a reflection of adversity.

The show will feature 20 performers and lots of bubbles.

‘Optika Piñata’

"Optika Piñata" will take place Aug. 14-15 at Liberty Station in Point Loma as part of La Jolla Playhouse's Pop-Up WOW fest.
The interactive theater event “Optika Piñata” will take place Aug. 14-15 at Liberty Station in Point Loma as part of La Jolla Playhouse’s Pop-Up WOW fest.
(David Israel Reynoso)

Reynoso, in partnership with the New Children’s Museum, presents this seven-minute interactive theater event for children (ages 4 and up recommended) and adults. Visitors will be directed to one of four Pod-style containers decorated like a giant piñata. Inside they’ll get an eye exam from an Optika Moderna “optician” who will help them see things from a new perspective. Visitors also will get a packet with instructions they can follow up with to help transform the future experience for “Teatro Piñata,” a different version of the show that will open in November at the New Children’s Museum.

Performers will be masked. Mask rules for participants will be subject to local, state and federal guidelines in place at the time. Entry hours are 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14 and 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 15. ◆