9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla
6663 El Cajon Boulevard, Suite N, Rolando
A preview of coming attractions at the La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival (October 3-6). You could almost say the festival stages plays anywhere but in a theater. The plays are one-acts. Most run less than an hour and take place in environments that match their subject matter.
Moxie Theatre’s “site” is an elevator at the La Jolla Playhouse’s Potiker Theatre. Jennifer Barclay’s comedy-drama follows the ups and downs in three relationships. The audience rises and falls as well. They sit in the elevator on folding chairs. When the elevator stops at a certain floor, the doors open like a stage curtain pulled back. Spectators watch the couples at pivotal points.
Ed and Coco are barely old enough to drive. Nonetheless, they meet in their school’s boiler room and decide to what? Run away together? Maybe. Though Ed assumed they were meeting to make out, which would be a relatively new experience for him.
Liv and Teresa have reached a point where role-playing (a la Little Red Riding Hood and a reluctant wolf) isn’t enough to accommodate one’s desire for a child.
Lennox and Gracie have been married for decades. And both are set in their ways: he for couch-potato stasis; she for movement, seeing new sights. They’re about to take a trip. Yet he’s as reluctant as Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf.
Part of the show’s fun: we take the 30 minute ride on “Betty Jean’s Elevator of Love.” Dressed in a salmon-colored outfit, Betty Jean (Lisel Gorell-Getz) narrates our journey and proves to be if not daft, then at least drifting away from kilter. She apparently has no existence beyond the elevator – doesn’t even know the male operator next door.
She warns us of the dangers of riding elevators (no need on that score, I was trapped in one for 15 minutes once; no, make that A CENTURY OF CLAUSTROPHOBIA).
Betty Jean swears that, for love to work, it needs to be counter-balanced, like an elevator, like her relationship with the man rising up as we descend?
But Betty Jean, will the twain ever meet?
The brief scenes evolve from over-weighted scales to the possibility (but not necessarily the fact; the playwright’s wiser than that) of equilibrium.
An elevator’s an interesting choice. In this day and age where people feel compelled to publicize every single move they make – often in elevators – why not? The doors open to intimate/funny exchanges far more interesting that the Oral Odysseys of the Entitled.
Counterweight, Moxie Theatre, Potiker Theatre elevator, La Jolla Playhouse, playing October 3-6, every half-hour from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.