An ideal cultural experience is an immersive one, period, end of story... Or the beginning, rather. It matters not if the port of entry in question is a book or a ballet or a film or a tale told live, it only matters that the audience, for an instant or an hour, feels as though they're fully inside that particular universe.
So while stages and homes and blank rooms and prop-filled rooms make excellent backdrops for excellent plays, one really cannot do better than seeing vampires roaming an actual aged graveyard.
As they will beginning on Thursday, Oct. 2 when Wicked Lit returns to the Mountain View Mausoleum & Cemetery in Altadena for a five-week run. An annual treat from Unbound Productions, Wicked Lit rounds up a few plays -- some classic, some new -- and sets them loose, literally, among trees, tombstone, and moonlight.
Meaning the performances use ambient light, and the rambling spaces of a cemetery, to set the velvet-lace, candle-waxy feel of the evening.
The 2014 trio is ready to send chills up various spines: Bram Stoker's "Dracula Guest," a spin on folk favorite "Las Lloronas," and "The Monk," from the novel by Matthew Gregory Lewis, shall sweep about the Mountain View plots in dramatic capes and ye olde dresses, wailing when appropriate and glowering when glowering is called for.
It's a gas, truly, and a new way to enjoy theatre. It's audience engagement, with a hefty dose of fresh air and night dew.
We'll never complain about a squishy-seated chair in a nice auditorium, but leaving behind the memory of a gothic potboiler told beneath the moonbeams is a hard one. If only more theatrical productions would wade outdoors, the better to match story with memorable setting.