Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Hits Downtown San Diego

A member of the Gob Squad films a performance of "Super Night Shot."
Gob Squad
A member of the Gob Squad films a performance of "Super Night Shot."
La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Hits Downtown San Diego
La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Hits Downtown San Diego GUESTS: Meiyin Wang, festival director, Without Walls Berit Stumpf, member, Gob Squad

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. usually performances at La Jolla Playhouse and fall the stage and audience. Everyone knows their place and what their role is. During the playhouse without walls festival they get mixed up. The stage, the actors and the audience could be anywhere in anyone. This year the festival features a dozen events. Joining me is Meiyin Wang, festival director, Without Walls . Welcome to the program.Nice to be here.Berit Stumpf, . They have taken place in La Jolla. This year the events are mainly downtown from the library to Logan Heights. Why move downtown?We thought it was an opportunity to bring these artists downtown to a different audience. The other thing that we were very interested in his we had to respond to the energy of the city. We went to downtown and Logan Heights and worked with partners to invite artists to be with us.You curated a similar performance in New York. How have you had to change of focus for San Diego.I think it has a very specific mandate. The other thing that is very specific is the amazing weather. My previous festival under the radar was part of twice.The opportunities for going outside or for walking tourist was more limited. San Diego is a great place to figure out how to engage with audiences on different way.What are you looking for when deciding on what performance pieces to include?For me when I'm in San Diego, I want to think about how to respond to the city and invite the artists were going to respond to the city in different ways. So one of the pieces that I'm excited about his model home by an artist, which will be installed at Plaza part. It is insulation that really response to the question of what makes a home and what is enough and what does homing to us and it is when of our signature pieces for the festival and I think it's going to start a conversation about that. They're really going to be pulling from the energy of San Diegans and bringing the piece to the library.It is one of the festival centerpieces.It is a multiscreen film. We don't really know what is happening because we don't know who comes our way and who we meet the special night and then everything that happens to us will be part of the film. The film involves in front of the audience like from four perspectives we go our separate ways and then we meet in the final image is the audience arriving. We interact with people in the streets.I don't want to steal any of your secrets but do you have some scenarios set out may be you don't know exactly what's going to happen but to have some sort of framework?We do. We have a different part of all. There is a hero and there is a PR agent and a location scout and there is me the casting agent. I'm looking for a stranger in a person from San Diego to present the city put someone we don't know and we hope to meet that person and then it might be a happy and with that heroine in the film.You were talking about the homes that are going to be on display as part of a piece in Horton Plaza. I want to talk about the Crane belly because I think that's going to be arresting for people to see.Absolutely. They have a very impressive imagination and something she wanted to do was responding to the number of cranes that she was seeing so she said what would it be like if we suspended a red house with the grain in the middle of the city? So we were all for big -- it will happen four times a day Thursday through Sunday.There are some pieces where the audience becomes the actor. Tell us about the quiet volume that's happening in San Diego's main downtown library.It is a piece and it it involves two participants you will arrive at the library and you are given headphones and you are given instructions. It is an hour long experience in which you participate with another audience. There is no actor. You are the performer.You've been part of quiet volume before. What was so appealing about it.Something I love is your incognito in a library. You are performing tasks inside the outside world. There is this internal world that is happening in a secret between you and another person. The energy of the secret and of doing tasks that are pitching you and another person is very special.I want to ask you both what is this type of performance outside of an actual theater? Why is that important to bring to a community?You get different people to take part in it. This is going out to the people rather than waiting that the people come to us. That is special and it's been part of the work to bring our work to the people.The idea that we are being very present and live and anything can happen. I think that is most exciting to me.The La Jolla Playhouse without walls festival begins today with events continuing through Sunday. I've been speaking with Meiyin Wang, festival director, Without Walls and , . Thank you both.Thank you.

Usually, performances at La Jolla Playhouse involve a stage, actors and an audience: everyone knows their place and what their role is. But during the Playhouse's Without Walls Festival, those roles get mixed up. The stage, the actors and the audience can be anywhere and anyone.

The festival, held mostly downtown for the first time this year, features more than a dozen events including an improvised film from the European collective Gob Squad and a series of tiny homes in Horton Plaza inspired in part by San Diego's housing crisis.

"I like the idea that there is risk or danger of things about to fall apart," festival director Meiyin Wang said. "I think that’s the best part of live performance."

The festival runs through Sunday with a mix of ticketed and free events.

Wang and Gob Squad member Berit Stumpf join KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more about this year's Without Walls.