Anyone with a yen for interactive theater at its time-travelingest need only head on over to L.A.’s downtown Arts District this week for as unique a theatrical adventure as you’re likely to experience any time soon in a Silver Lining (the uncapitalized “a” is part of its title), the latest from A Working Theatre.
Since the less you know, the better you’ll be able to enjoy the many surprises a Silver Lining has in store for you, I’ll try to keep this review spoiler free. Suffice it to say that in a tradition most recently carried on by Wicked Lit 2014 at Altadena’s Mountain View Mausoleum And Cemetery, Matt Soson and Vika Stubblebine’s highly original scenario will have you and your eleven fellow ticketholders ambulating through the 14,000-square-foot complex of ArtShareLA, occasionally in groups smaller than the original twelve.
Press materials describe a Silver Lining as “raw, immersive, interactive storytelling, a multi-verse of fractured time and space where you choose the adventure,” one in which “the audience becomes the activators, propelling the narrative forward, traversing through multi-universes of abstract, Labyrinth-esque characters and devised sequences of unexpected, explosive complexion,” which seems about as good a preview as any, since the divulging of plot twists-and-turns might get StageSceneLA blacklisted by entertainment juggernaut Panopticon .
Co-writers Soson (who co-directs with Jessica Salans) and Vika Stubblebine tackle multiple social issues, albeit often in the wackiest and most tongue-in-cheek of ways, while allowing for both interaction and improv by actors as well as audience.
Last night’s cast featured the talented tensome of Karel Ebergen, Madeline Harris, Sharilyn Hernandez, Ben Huth, Kevin Railsback, Salans, Soson, Erika Soto, Stubblebine, and Emily Yetter, whose commitment to (and enthusiasm for) this most unique of projects proves infectious.
There is one proviso. Anyone with any degree of physical decrepitude should probably be discouraged from attending. (Thank goodness I keep in shape for my age.)
Otherwise, with scenic designers Marika Stephens and Soson adding post-Apocalyptic touches to the labyrinth that is ArtShareLA, Sohail e. Najafi providing a bang-up lighting design, Salans demonstrating abundant imagination in her costumes, and Soson upping the intensity with his original score, a Silver Lining ends up a theatrical experience unlike even those it most resembles, eg. The Manor, Tamara, and the aforementioned Wicked Lit.
For theatergoers who think they’ve seen and done it all, there’s no more original November entertainment than a Silver Lining.
ArtShareLA, 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles.
November 18, 2014
Photo: Emma Fassler