When Unbound Productions (UP) announced the return of their immersive theatre event – HISTORY LIT: A Festival Of Timeless Stories (July 9-31, 2016) – to be staged at one of my most favorite places, the Pasadena Museum of History (PMH), I knew I should check it out.
Entertainment, food, Pasadena and its history, are usually enough to lure me out to an event. And, if I happen to know someone connected to an event, in this case the hard-working Executive Director of UP – Jonathan Josephson, plus, the fact History Lit was last staged back in 2012, well, it kinda gives me no choice but I gotta go! Besides, who knows when I would have another opportunity.
If HISTORY LIT sounds similar to WICKED LIT (WL) it’s no coincidence. Both are produced by UP: the annual WL stages classic horror stories, while HISTORY LIT presents entertaining adaptations of timeless literature that reflect history.
While we awaited for the time for the plays to begin on the lawn of the Fenyes Mansion, I was introduced to Paul Millet the artistic director & John G. Rack the producing artistic director.
HISTORY LIT 2016 includes two of the three plays that were presented as a part of the first HISTORY LIT production at PMH in 2012: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Two Pictures In One and Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party! Plus, a new piece for 2016: Frank Baum’s The Girl Who Owned a Bear. They are staged inside the Curtin House (a guesthouse on the grounds of the Fenyes mansion), throughout the gardens around the museum grounds, and inside the Museum where the exhibit Flying Horses and Mythical Beasts: The Magical World of Carousels is displayed.
The adventure begins with theater attendees divided into 3 groups allocated to the 3 plays. From there we view each play in turn with 10 minute breaks between. Our group saw them in the following order:
1st, The Girl Who Owned a Bear. (The following photos per Unbound Productions)
2nd, The Garden Party.
3rd, Two Pictures in One.
The order we saw them above is probably the optimal sequence. It begins with humor fit for both adults & children, gets serious with family drama over class, and ends with heavy drama contrasting white and black lives in 19th century America in Two Pictures in One. I enjoyed them all.
Social/Who was there. Some of the people who turned out who I also happen to be acquaintances with and met included: Brad McNeil, Tom Seifert & wife, Amy Breyer, Michelle Mills,, Michelle Zack, Lora Ivanova (Founder & Executive Producer of SCARE LA.COM which is coming to the Pasadena Convention Center in August – GO!), and Laura Monteros with her daughter. Anyways, that’s all my old memory seems to recall at the moment so forgive me if I likely overlooked someone.
You should also be among the people who turn out for History Lit if you appreciate live theater and good stories. But, hurry. It ends its short run at the end of July.
Now, I’m no theater critic or expert. And there’s little I could add to whatever else has been written by others. I’ll just say this: I went in hoping I would like it, and I left knowing that I loved it! It was entertaining. I was entertained. And I think most of you will too.
LISTEN UP (again): History Lit has only 7 performances remaining. And now YOU can get 2 for 1 tickets (!!) for Friday night (7/22) or Sunday night (7/24) by entering the code FENYES! in the link for tickets: TICKETS . So what are you waiting for!
Gotta Get Moving! Stay Thirsty My Friends