When I told my mom the other day about my plan to go see an “outdoor play”, her immediate reaction was, “oh you love plays! That sounds like so much fun!”. I thought about that for a second and began to recount a flutter of memories dating back to my childhood, memories of all the plays I’d been to with my mother (she had season tickets to a variety of theaters in San Francisco for years), but still I couldn’t help but respond, in my annoyed daughter-like tone of course, “no, YOU love plays, mom.”
I gotta hand it to my mom, because of her and her love for plays I really have seen just about every major production, besides Cats – I think I’m ok with that, so I was definitely cultured at a young age in that respect. Some plays I genuinely enjoyed, some I genuinely did not, but as with most activities that cost money to enjoy, the opportunities to catch more productions fell by the wayside. Bars and live music became my interests and by the time I got to college I really believed I just wasn’t a play person anymore.
When I’d very recently been given the opportunity to see a whole new kind of play production, very unique especially to the city of Los Angeles, I was admittedly weary but completely curious. Chalk Rep’s latest production Lady Windermere’s Fan, a play written by Oscar Wilde, was being shown outdoors on the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library’s grounds, and as far as I was keeping track on account of my curiosity, each night kept selling out? They we’re clearly doing something right and I wanted to discover for myself what it was that had people attending in droves. Really though, besides all that I’m quite honestly interested in anything involving trying something new, visiting a place I’d never been to in LA, and seeing something I’d never seen. And of course any excuse to picnic and enjoy this gorgeous LA summer weather in a picturesque setting is a major plus.
I made it in time to catch Chalk Rep’s very last show of Lady Windermere’s Fan, and after having seen the show I’m so so glad I didn’t miss it in its entirety. This was not your average sit down, ass falls asleep, drawn out “I’m wondering when this will be over”, production – the play itself was completely entertaining, the cast was incredible, the audience got to take part (in a totally not weird or uncomfortable way), and we moved around with the storyline to a variety of locations on the grounds – phenomenal. I couldn’t believe by the end of it just how incredibly enjoyable the whole evening was, even my friend I’d wrangled into coming with me was in complete shock over how much he appreciated it as well. I was disappointed in myself to think that even for a second I was worried about whether or not I’d enjoy it, because truth be told that play was one of the most impressive, most unique things I’ve done in LA thus far.
It’s experiences like this one that remind me how fortunate I am to live in such a creative melting pot of a city like Los Angeles where incredible companies and groups are providing these kinds of “only in LA” experiences all the time. Chalk Rep in particular has clearly put a lot of effort and thought into their production and because I have now seen, first hand, their unique take on new ways to experience plays, you can most certainly consider me a fan. They should be having another production in the works soon, check back on their site for more info! – chalkrep.com