La Jolla Playhouse brings us two more world-premiere productions in its


Digital Without Walls (WOW) series, including You Are Here: A Homebound Travelogue and The Society of Wonder, a Playhouse commission by the San Diego-based Animal Cracker Conspiracy (ACC). Both launch this month. The Playhouse also presents a fourth Walks of Life episode from its 2020-21

Resident Theatre Blindspot Collective that focuses on Black artists and experiences. The episode will include four world-premiere audio plays: Nursing Hours by Penny Middleton; Punch Bowl Spaces by Kian Kline-Chilton; The Piano by Richard Allen and Taran Gray; and Family Sound by Michael Mitchell, Aurin Squire and Annastasia Victory. Additionally, run dates for the Playhouse’s previously announced Digital WOW production of Portaleza by David Israel Reynoso will be Tuesday, September 8 through Sunday, October 4. “We’re delighted to welcome back acclaimed Playhouse artists Marike

Splint and Animal Cracker Conspiracy, who have developed fascinating new video projects for our Digital WOW series: one that forges a path to connection through an inventive Google Earth expedition; the other a modern allegory brought to life through ACC’s signature virtuosic puppetry,” said Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director at La Jolla Playhouse. “It is also a privilege to commission Blindspot Collective to create a fourth Walks of Life episode, written and performed entirely by Black artists, in a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.” You Are Here: A Homebound Travelogue, created by renowned immersive

artist Marike Splint, takes audiences on a road trip around the world in Google Earth, offering a visual experience that leads down the forgotten roads of our personal geographies, the back alleys of our memory, and the highways to places we long to be. This world-premiere video project will be available to stream this month at A group of visionaries called The Society of Wonder once discovered

that every backyard contains a secret portal to an underground kingdom of inspiration and hope. But that was long ago, before the monolithic Xebos Corp. brought our natural world to the brink of collapse. When five seemingly unrelated characters begin to receive mysterious signs from an enigmatic

Cyborg, it’s up to them to decipher the clues before all is lost. Will the Society rise again? Award-winning San Diego-based puppetry company ACC presents this whimsical six-part series of videos, launching in September, that will transport audiences to a unique world that looks uncannily like our own. Blindspot Collective’s fourth Walks of Life episode focuses on Black artists

and experiences. Although previous episodes featured Black playwrights and performers, this moment of national reckoning and recognition necessitates a creative rebuke to systemic oppression, and a proclamation that Black lives not only matter, they are essential. This new episode features four short plays that celebrate Black culture and community through dialogue, spoken word, soundscape and original music. When the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd in less than 10 minutes, it was a symbolic culmination of over 400 years of Black death and trauma in the United States. Each scene is roughly 10 minutes long as a means of reflecting the vibrancy, beauty, culture and excellence that are possible in that same amount of time. Walks of Life is an original, Playhouse-commissioned work of auditory theatre featuring original short scenes by playwrights and composers that imagine the lives of people in the homes and apartments we pass while walking independently through our neighborhoods. Much like the notion of sending a message in a bottle, Portaleza (derived

from the words “portal” and “fortaleza,” meaning strength/fortress) is a one-of-a-kind digital WOW experience that explores ideas of connection through desperate means of correspondence. After booking a visit with Optika Moderna’s strange opticians, patrons will be mailed a mysterious package, which is to remain sealed until their appointed time. When the moment arrives, guests will discover that the humble contents of this parcel hold the key to unlocking a reality beyond their realm of imagination; a customized experience in response to what they do next. Since its inception in 2011, WOW has become one of San Diego’s most popular and acclaimed performance programs. This signature Playhouse initia- tive is designed to break the barriers of traditional theatre, offering immersive, site-inspired and digital works that venture beyond the physical confines of the Playhouse facilities

September 2020 | @theragemonthly 35

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