LOS ANGELES -- In the West, one long-held tradition is that travelers can enjoy anything from the comfort of their car. And now that tradition includes a live, theatrical drive-in experience.
L.A.'s downtown theatre group, Wolfskill, will present a Drive-In Drama production of Mayhem at Mayfield Mall by Joel Bloom, directed by Michael Shamus Wiles.
The show, opening July 11, has live actors set to perform at a parking lot for audience members who drive up in their own cars. The characters will be body-miked and performing just a few feet away from your windshield, delivering comedy spiced with agitprop.
Reanimated from a 1986 presentation, Mayhem is a parody of vintage science fiction movies. A mysterious creature, Tommy the Toxic-Waste Monster, is eating members of the local population. To protect trade at the local mall, a corrupt local politician and an unscrupulous developer conspire to hide the monster, and the presence of a toxic-waste dump.
"It's a happening, an event," said Tamar Forgang, a Wolfskill member who plays heroine Melissa Mann, the investigative reporter. "The play is like a 'B' Horror movie, silly and fun and playful. And of course, people get eaten by the monster throughout the proceedings." Mayhem, director Wiles suggests, could be a jumping-off place for audiences. "It might be only a first step in getting people to experience live theatre, even in cars, with speakers; it might be a way to get them to try another theatrical experience."
The show runs at 9 PM on Friday and Saturday, July 11 through August 2. The price of admission is $40 for four-door cars and $30 for two-door cars. No sport utility vehicles or vans will be permitted because of potential sight-line problems. The Drive-In Drama Lot is at 615 South Imperial. For reservations, call (213) 613-0986.
-- By Michael Farkash
Southern California Correspondent