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What's Been Happening in the last 42 of 365 Plays?
Last night's 365 Days/365 Plays at the Bootleg Theatre was one of those nights full of intoxicated magnetism. About a hundred or so people pack rat-ed into the theatre lobby to begin the first play... in the dark. To say the least, it was thrilling, as the whole night was. Tonight's 10:30 p.m. performance of 365 will be their last for this week's set of plays.
Like Bootleg, another troupe to keep tabs with is Nest Arts. This multi-disciplinary collective of artists approached 365 by taking it to the 727 Gallery Downtown and using that environ to its max. The first play, where the audience was facing the front windows from inside took place both inside and outside the gallery -- a "homeless" man walks up and starts to interact with the actor inside. Quality.
A week later on the Santa Monica Pier, Empire of Teeth took 365 where it has never gone and may never go back. They truly did site-specific theatre where the majority of the audience happened upon the plays, if only by a bemused WTF. By commercial standards, they may have failed, but who cares if they confused a bunch of tourists at what the hell was going on -- that was the beauty of it. And if you couldn't hear every word because the ocean waves crashed and you were concentrating on your goose bumps from the cold wind, that's okay too (it was the John Cage aspect of it all).
Before his week of plays went up, we interviewed LA Stage Alliance Executive Director, Terence McFarland, about 365 in general and his production. After seeing his beautiful direction of movement integrated into the acting within the first few minutes, we knew this was going to be good. Actually, when we were let into the house, there were chocolate kisses and condoms (in their wrappers) on our chairs. That was good too -- it was Valentines week after all.
A week later, we said "fuck the Oscars," we're going to 365. A meager crowd appeared at the MET Theatre for Alexander Yannis Stephano's production. It always kind of feels weird when there is the same number of actors on stage as in the audience. Nevertheless, there was no odd tension, but rather the solid actors were happy to be performing, making the intimate hour of theatre extremely enjoyable. It should be noted that The MET Theatre Company will be producing their own 365 plays this next week (Stephano was lent the space for his production, but did not represent MET).
About Productions staged a reading of 365 at the base of a staircase in the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. First of all, this is a good idea. A tall staircase ensures all audience members get to see all the action no matter how tall the person in front of you is. Second of all, this was a great reading. Thirdly, we got a free hat out of it (you had to be there).
Week 18 of 365 will be held at The MET Theatre on Wednesday, March 14, 2007, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 17 at 3 p.m.; Sunday, March 18 at 12 p.m. For more details, check out www.365inLA.com.