WoW did a Total -intervention- at the UCSD Campus this Weekend

The La Jolla Playhouse Festival Truly Collected the Space in its 2024 Edition

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti 

0471 Acro Physical Theatre's production of Duo, part of La Jolla Playhouse’s 2024 WOW Festival; photo by Pixel in Pixel.
The Without Walls Festival took place this past weekend from Thursday to Sunday at the University of San Diego California Campus, with over 20 projects performing free to the public. Comparing the past editions where in 2022 the festival took place at Liberty Station, and in 2023 at the Shell in downtown San Diego, even though each year has been great with companies presenting amazing work, I consider that this year at the university campus, WoW came back to its essence, meaning doing a full-on intervention in the spaces. Downstream (tributaries) by BANDALOOP was a perfect example: the Oakland-based company performed outside and on the Design and Innovation Building mixing dance and technology with amazing music. The picture of it all with the suspended dancers, the trolley passing by, and the campus activity in the surrounding areas was pure artistic bliss. Another exciting fact about BANDALOOP is that it is the company that contributed to the vertical choreography for the Playhouse’s world-premiere musical Redwood

ADHOK's production of Beautiful Escape: Emergency Exit, part of La Jolla Playhouse’s 2024 WOW Festival; photo by Patrick Dordoigne.

I saw three more shows that Saturday where the sun was out giving a beautiful day contrary to Friday which was the "coldest day of the year" and raining... Duo happened at Revelle Plaza, one of the main hubs of WoW. Like the show title says, the performance was with two artists from Taiwan, SUN Cheng-Hsueh and HSIA Ling who founded their company 0471 Acro Physical Theatre in 2020, one of the few circus teams in Taiwan specializing in acrobatic stacking. The piece was incredible with amazing control, strength, and feeling, performing flips, twists, jumps, and anything you can think of with LIU Tzu-Chi's music design that framed the experience beautifully. As challenging as it is, showing the level of difficulty and danger, SUN Cheng-Hsueh and HSIA Ling did it with such grace. WoW marked their first time performing in the United States, which made it even more special.

Following Duo, at the same plaza, I had the opportunity to catch Beautiful Escape: Emergency Exit by French outdoor theatre company ADHOK, where seven actors between the ages of 60 and 80 illustrate clearly, society's perceptions on getting older and being older. Through a promenade performance, the actors form a line and start walking holding trays with food. There was music in the background and the audience gravitated towards the action by following them. There were screams, choreography, laughs, and reflection. It was an absolute experience. The members of the cast are Christiane Colard, Françoise Loreau, Irène Palko, Claudette Walker, Guy Delamarche, Dominique Gras, Dominique Langlais and they were directed by Doriane Moretus and Patrick Dordoigne.

My schedule wrapped up by shopping at a tianguis (Swapmeet) in the workshop performance of TuYo Theatre's Pásale, Pásale. A new musical written by Mario Vega, with music and lyrics by Eliza Vedar, conceived and directed by Maria Patrice Amon, the company did it again. In 2022, TuYo presented "On Her Shoulders We Stand", an amazing, creative, immersive experience about Latin American women in WWII. In 'Pásale, audiences are greeted with a folding chair that is also a shopping cart and five dollars to spend at the different puestos or stands from pre-loved clothes to raspados, and piñatas, the vendors narrate through mostly song, what is happening at the swapmeet with the owner Señor Muchascosas, who is raising the vendor's fee. This experience is also immersive as you move around the stands hearing what each vendor has to say. The music as well as the lyrics of the songs are well-written and fitting, and the musical is very engaging. I was happy to see some familiar faces in the cast like Analía Romero, Tamara Rodriguez, and Maya Sofia Enciso amongst others. 

This year WoW felt very Salzburg, very European street art scene, introducing new companies to new latitudes as well as introducing them to us, and that was pretty cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment