We love traditional theatre, but there are a lot of Los Angeles artists who are creating amazing new ways to tell stories — including putting twists on classic stories and bringing back types of storytelling that people may have forgotten. So if you’re feeling like something a little different to keep those creative summer juices flowing, here are some options that are mysterious, bizarre, beautiful, innovative, and sometimes hilarious.
LA Performance Practice / LAX Festival @ The Bootleg
It seems the first rule of this play is Do Not Talk About This Play. Publicity materials come with a warning: “Do not Google this play. Once you start, you must finish… NO MATTER WHAT.”
From what we gather, the actors in the show don’t know what the show is about on the night they perform? They’ve only been told what’s absolutely necessary? Details on Nassim Soleimanpour’s “theatre entertainment meets global experiment” are hazy, but it sounds like it’s going to be a trip, one way or another.
Playing now through October 2.
The Latino Theatre Company @ The Los Angeles Theatre Center
This one sounds epic, in the truest sense of the word. For the first time, Evelina Fernández’s award-winning trilogy, ‘Faith,’ ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity,’ will be presented in its entirety “as one unforgettable tour de force.”
Travel with the Morales family through decades of the Mexican-American experience, from a remote mining town in Arizona during World War II, to the Phoenix family home during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, finally to Los Angeles following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005.
Audiences can choose to enjoy this adventure over the course of two evenings — or as one thrilling, all-day immersive experience (box dinners available for purchase).
Playing September 8–October 9.
REDCAT @ Roy/Edna Disney/CalArts Theater
The description of this dance show is just… fantastic.
“To the sound of energizing tribal rock music by two percussionists on stage, internationally acclaimed choreographer Christian Rizzo extols the masculine in a ritual that combines contemporary dance with abstracted elements of folk dances.
Eight male dancers execute powerful choreography inspired by traditional forms and a variety of all-male partnering, building into a raw explosion of pleasure that is absolutely irresistible.”
That’s right. Raw explosion of pleasure. It’s irresistible. And now we want to go.
Playing September 15-18.
Literally Won’t Tell Us Where The Show Takes Place Until A Week Before The Show Woah
This one bills itself as “a fully immersive, site specific journey of trust, betrayal and submission.”
Fair warning on this show: it refers to its audience as “participants,” which is enough to scare off the You-Must-Not-Break-The-Fourth-Wall theatre-goer.
“Ascension is more than immersive theatre, more than a haunted house, more than anything you could imagine. It is a journey into darkness with the possibility of being reborn in the light. You will be processed, tried and tested. But only if you succeed, may you find… Ascension.”
Playing September 8–October 15.
Four Larks @ Basic Flowers
Multi-Ovation Award-winning The Temptation of St. Antony is coming back! This is a highly physical, stylized, ensemble-based movement and dance and singing and music and so many things play.
The “plot”: St. Antony has shut himself high up in the inner mountain with only his sacred texts for company. Late at night, mythic phantasms leap out of the pages to challenge his fixed understanding of the universe. Seduced by the Queen of Sheba, hosted by King Nebuchadnezzar, entranced by gnostic shamans, and serenaded by gods, monsters and mythical beasts, Antony’s quest flings him between an unknowable past and a terrifying future.
Playing now through October 2.
ComedySportz @ ComedySportz Los Angeles
This is an improv-based show; every Chickspeare performance is unique, based on inspiration from an audience member. After a brief introduction, the cast then improvises a full play in 5 acts, in the style of Shakespeare’s comedies. While every plot is different, each performance is a high energy, fun-filled show with lots of laughs and lots of heart, using Shakespearean themes and language. Five simple benches, twelve skirts, and six scarves are employed to create all the places and characters which bring the show to life. The all-female cast of seven plays women, men, animals (and even the occasional object) in weaving a complex tale of love!
Playing September 9 & 16.
School of Night @ The Ruby Theatre/The Complex
Drawing on performance traditions as richly varied as Commedia dellArte, the Roman gladiatorial games, the English mystery plays, Kenpo Karate, Le Theatre du Grand-Guignol, Dorian Mime (?!) and Hollywood action-splatter cinema, The School of Night “presents a blast of theatrical bombast crafted to batter and berate its viewers into giddy, satisfied submission.”
We’ve also heard that Mr. Punch will tickle your ribs as he bludgeons, stabs, slashes, burns, shoots and inappropriately gropes his way straight into your heart.
Cool. On board.
Playing September 16–October 2.