Liberty Station hosts La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival April 21-24. Here’s the full rundown
Twenty-four shows will be presented, many of them free and outdoors.
In fall 2013, La Jolla Playhouse presented its first Without Walls Festival, featuring about a dozen adventurous, interactive theater pieces around the playhouse campus at UC San Diego.
Nearly a decade later, the WOW fest is still going strong. In fact, beginning this week, it will transform from a biennial to an annual event. This year’s festival from Thursday, April 21, through Sunday, April 24, will include a 24-show lineup at Liberty Station in Point Loma, the site of the last full-length, in-person WOW Festival in 2019. The past two years were mostly digital shows.
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Tickets to many of this year’s performances are already sold out. But more than half the shows are free of charge and many are being presented outdoors.
Here’s the full festival lineup:
• “Ants” from Polyglot Theatre, Australia: Previously featured at the 2015 and 2019 WOW fest with its interactive children’s shows “We Built This City” and “Boats,” Polyglot returns with “Ants,” which brings three giant ants together with children who will help the ants transform a public space with lines and patterns. The production will feature Inlet Dance Theatre. 30 minutes. Noon and 1:30 p.m. April 23-24. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
• “Ascension” from San Diego Opera: Two female opera singers will sing a cappella choral pieces as they lead audience members through the historic areas of Liberty Station. As they walk, their attire will transform, taking them from early 20th-century suffragettes to early 21st-century modern American women. 30 minutes. 3 and 5 p.m. April 23-24. Meet at the northeast corner of Dewey and Truxtun roads. Free.
• “A Thousand Ways (Part 3): An Assembly” from 600 Highwaymen, New York: This is the final piece of an interactive, three-part theater project the playhouse began in February 2021 as a way to create community among strangers during pandemic-related quarantine. The finale will bring together past participants in groups of 12 to form structures using note cards as an audience watches. 60 minutes. 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. April 23; noon, 1:30, 3, 5 and 6:30 p.m. April 24. Dorothea Laub Dance Place, 2650 Truxtun Road. $20.
• “Black Seance” from Blindspot Collective, San Diego: Blindspot presents Richard Allen’s play set in a New Orleans-style bar where a bartender-magician tells his mysterious family history and conjures images and stories of his Black cultural heroes, including Frederick Douglass, Josephine Baker and James Baldwin, as well as Eartha Kitt and Redd Foxx. Ages 21 and up only. 90 minutes. 7 p.m. April 21; 7:30 p.m. April 22; 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 23; 5:30 p.m. April 24. Dick Laub NTC Command Center, 2460 Historic Decatur Road. $20.
• “The Box Show” from Dominique Salerno, New York: Salerno plays 30 characters from inside a small box, ranging from a drunken couple in Las Vegas to a lonely giantess to a lost pope and the entire Greek army. Ages 13 and up only. 90 minutes. 5:30 p.m. April 21; 8 p.m. April 22; 4 p.m. April 23; 6 p.m. April 24. Light Box at Dorothea Laub Music & Arts Center, 2590 Truxtun Road. $20.
• “Carpa de la Frontera”: CARPA San Diego presents this bilingual tent experience featuring comedy relief on issues of immigration, race, accessibility and human rights. 75 minutes. 5:30 p.m. April 23-24. Tent on North Promenade. Free.
• “C’est pas là, c’est par là (It’s not here, it’s over here)” from Galmae, France: This ensemble piece involves creating a large, tangled web of yarn that people create, move through and disentangle. It represents how humans move when they’re alone or in a crowd and how they find their space. 45 minutes. 8:45 p.m. April 22-23. South Promenade Lawn. Free.
• “Finding Avi” from Katherine Wilkinson and Elizagrace Madrone, New York: This interactive audio walking tour is geared for young queer audiences, structured around a familiar Western fairy tale. Ages 12 and up only. Up to 90 minutes. 10 and 11:50 a.m., 1:40, 3:30 and 5:20 p.m. April 23-24. Chapel Lawn, 2881 Roosevelt Road. $20.
• “40 Watts from Nowhere” from Mister and Mischief, Los Angeles: Audience members enter a DJ booth where they can play music and share their voices in an experiential live documentary on the true story of magazine editor-turned-radio pirate Sue Carpenter, who created an illegal radio station for musical misfits in the closet of her home in the Los Angeles community of Silver Lake in 1995. Ages 12 and up. 50 minutes. 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. April 21-22; hourly from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. April 23 and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 24. Dick Laub NTC Command Center, 2460 Historic Decatur Road. $20
• “The Frontera Project”: Tijuana Hace Teatro of Mexico and New Feet Productions of New York City present this interactive, bilingual theater experience that uses music, movement and play to engage the audience in a conversation about life at the U.S./Mexico border. 80 min. 1:30 and 6 p.m. April 23; noon and 3 p.m. April 24. New Americans Museum, 2825 Dewey Road. $20.
• “Hoopla!”: La Jolla Playhouse presents its 2022 Performance Outreach Program (POP) Tour show by Cheryl West about a group of grade-schoolers approaching the annual fifth-grade talent show with a mixture of excitement and dread. 45 minutes. 11 a.m. April 23-24. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
• “In Lieu of FLWRZ” from Soulkiss Theater, San Diego: This multisite performance highlights theater, dance and the music of San Diego-based R&B, soul and hip-hop music artists. It’s about the death of a queer couple’s relationship due to an act of infidelity. 25 minutes. 3:30 p.m. April 23-24. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
• “Just a Phase” from Malashock Dance, San Diego: Eight dancers will present 10 short contemporary dance pieces representing phases in everyone’s lives, including childhood, adolescence, independence, relationships and community. 50 minutes. 2 p.m. April 23-24. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
• “La Bulle” from Corpus, Canada: Last seen at WOW in 2015 with its show “A Flock of Flyers,” Corpus returns with this outdoor solo show featuring the clownlike character Pierrot, a mime, dancer and artist, performing inside a giant snow globe-like bubble. 60 minutes. 8 p.m. April 21-24. North Promenade. Free.
• “Lessons in Temperament” from Outside the March, Canada: Writer-musician-performer James Smith will perform this one-man play about four neuro-diverse brothers as he tunes a piano onstage, a metaphor for how all humans are tuned differently. 110 minutes. 8 p.m. April 21; 5 p.m. April 22; 6:30 p.m. April 23; 3:30 p.m. April 24. Light Box at Dorothea Laub Music & Arts Center, 2590 Truxtun Road. $20.
“Monuments” from Craig Walsh, Australia: This outdoor nighttime projection installation will transform trees into sculptural monuments as a way of honoring the legacies of San Diego’s unsung heroes. Walsh will photograph and interview the subjects for the multimedia installation. 8-10 p.m. April 21-24. Arts District. Free.
• “The Music Sounds Different to Me Now” from Bill Wright, San Diego: This dance and music piece will feature “Jody” throwing her annual party for her gang of singer-dancer friends, who will tap into stories from their lives, both funny and poignant. 60 minutes. 2 and 7 p.m. April 23-24. Dorothea Laub Dance Place, 2650 Truxtun Road. $20.
• “The Mystery of Secrets” from San Diego Dance Theatre: Four choreographers will create mysterious and improvisational dance pieces at sites around the festival hub in the Arts District. Besides SDDT dancers, there will be community dancers and performers from Flamenco Sur. 30 minutes. 4:30 p.m. April 23-24. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
• “On Her Shoulders We Stand” from TuYo Theatre, San Diego: In this walk-through, immersive theatrical installation, audience members will hear the stories of Latinas who, though not accepted as Americans during the 1940s, still joined the war effort at home. 35 minutes. Tours begin every 20 minutes from 6 to 9:40 p.m. April 21-22 and from noon to 4:40 p.m. April 23-24. Central Promenade, Roosevelt Road between Truxtun and Historic Decatur roads. $20.
• SDUSD 2022 Honors Theatre Devised Project, San Diego: La Jolla Playhouse and visual and performing arts teachers in the San Diego Unified School District are collaborating on an original play devised by 33 high school students that challenges the audience to build a better future. 30 minutes. 5 p.m. April 23-24. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
• Silent Disco: This interactive program lets participants put on a headset and dance to music from DJ Chris Freeman that only they can hear. 90 minutes. 8:30 p.m. April 23. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
• “Somnium” from The Rosin Box Project, San Diego: This new ballet centered on the architecture of Liberty Station will combine dance, projection and music to create an immersive, multisensory experience. 30 minutes. 8 p.m. April 22; 8 and 9 p.m. April 23; 8 p.m. April 24. Between Buildings 3 and 4, North Promenade. $20.
• “The Four Seasons” from San Diego Ballet: This walk-though performance will feature dancers performing outdoors to Vivaldi’s famous violin concerto with four movements themed to the seasons. 30 minutes. 4:30 p.m. April 23-24. Gardens, Building D, West Liberty Station. $20.
• “TransMythical” from Animal Cracker Conspiracy, San Diego: This half-hour, family-friendly procession through the Arts District will feature giant puppets, masked characters and musicians. 50 minutes. 12:45 and 6:45 p.m. April 23-24. Hub, North Promenade. Free.
For online reservations for shows, visit lajollaplayhouse.org/wowfestival2022. Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with ID is required, or a negative coronavirus PCR test within 48 hours of show time. Face masks are required indoors.