The Without Walls Festival is one of San Diego theater's premier recurring events. Photo by Daniel Norwood.
This should be ultra-cool: La Jolla Playhouse has announced that its third Without Walls Festival (aka the WoW Festival), due this October, will be mounted not on its UCSD Theatre District grounds but around downtown San Diego. For those who already dig the WoW Festival – count me most enthusiastically among them – this only makes the return of this site-specific-theater adventure more exciting. Nothing wrong with the festivals staged, for the most part, at UCSD, but downtown would seem to offer greater and even more experimental site choices. All credit to the Playhouse for not standing pat. If downtown is a hit, and I’d be surprised if it isn’t, it might become a tradition, or, and this is equally fun to contemplate, it might betoken WoW Festivals in other parts of the city as well. Further details to come as we get closer to fall.
Jennifer Eve Thorn is Moxie Theatre's new artistic director.
Its 13th season of existence is bringing change at the top at always-adventurous Moxie Theatre. One of Moxie's original co-founders (along with Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, Jo Anne Glover and Liv Kellgren), Jennifer Eve Thorn has been named the theater company's new artistic director and will assume her responsibilities in July. She succeeds founding artistic director Turner Sonnenberg, who along with Glover, the company says, will take roles on the Moxie Advisory Board. Both will be involved, either directing or performing, during Moxie's 13th season. From the very beginning, Moxie has been producing some of the most thoughtful and provocative theater in San Diego, of which Thorn has been an integral part both on stage and as a director. I expect she will continue with distinction the high degree of excellence built by Turner Sonnenberg. Good luck, Jen!
A bold "Timon of Athens" in D.C.
Ian Merrill Peakes in "Timon of Athens" at Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. Photo by Teresa Wood.
Timing is everything. I was fortunate enough to be in Washington, D.C. last week just in time to catch one of the closing performances of Shakespeare’s rarely produced “Timon of Athens” at the Folger Theatre, which regularly does some of the best realizations of The Bard’s work in the country. This “Timon,” directed by Robert Richmond, took a daring, techy approach to the play about an Athenian’s misguided generosity and the wrenching consequences that follow. In the title role, Ian Merrill Peakes is insouciant, desperate, manic and haunted in all the appropriate moments, and his steady Act 2 disintegration makes a potent point about the thin line between money and madness. Next up at the Folger: Richmond directs “Antony and Cleopatra,” Oct 10-Nov. 19. If you’re in D.C. this fall, check it out.
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat