La Jolla Playhouse has launched its first new digital productions through its Without Walls (WOW) series, offering people a chance to experience immersive theatre while practicing social distancing at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ancient is available May 14, beginning at 12 PM ET. The Playhouse-commissioned video installation invites virtual audiences to observe an unfolding of day-to-day tasks that have been in play for centuries, exploring the relationship between repetition and meditation. Co-created by Mike Sears and Lisa Berger, the work features an original score composed by Shawn Rohlf, text by Rainer Maria Rilke, and editing by Alex Boehnlein. The company features Rohlf, Sears, Jennifer Chang, Caitie Grady, Temi Hason, Bibi Mama, Bhavna Mehta, Joey Prete , and Daniel Yin.
Walks of Life, available May 26 at 12 PM ET, will take audiences on a journey through their own neighborhoods, regardless of their location. The auditory theatre piece is created by Blindspot Collective, led by co-directors Blake McCarty and Catherine Hanna Schrock. Participants walk around independently, and over the course of three 30-minute parts, are introduced to characters and stories that might be unfolding in the homes around them. Blindspot Collective has also been named the Playhouse’s 2020–2021 resident theatre company.
Patrons fill out an RSVP form on the show page and they’ll be sent a link and password to access the piece and view whenever convenient. Click here to get started. Both Ancient and Walks of Life are available for free.
Arriving at a later date will be Binge, a one-on-one piece by Brian Lobel that takes the solitary experience of binge-watching TV and transforms it into an opportunity to find comfort in the lives of fictional characters. The performance features a live Zoom session with a personal artist companion, resulting in the prescription of a classic television episode to provide a little bit of solace at home.
Also on the slate is Proyecto: Portaleza, in which audiences members go on a multi-sensory virtual journey remotely. Following a set of clues, guests will unlock an online secret portal and meet mysterious opticians who will reveal their latest procedure. The experience hails from David Israel Reynoso/Optika Moderna.
“Each of these innovative works is essentially about human connection,” said Christopher Ashley, the Tony-winning artistic director of the California venue. “At a time when we're physically unable to be together, they address how art can help people feel bonded in moving, inventive and deeply humane ways."
WOW began in 2011 with an aim to break down the barriers of traditional theatre through immersive, site-inspired, and digital works. Dates and ticketing information for the upcoming productions will be announced at a later date.