“Why are all of the best spots in LA so damned hard to find?”, Something often heard from my traveling companions. True words which apply to the Burning Opera, an originally scored variety show that takes place in a loft behind a Downtown LA back alley. The setting of the play itself, however, transcends space and time, from the playa to your childhood memories.
Upon entering the loft one is immediately thrown into over stimulation by the vast amounts of otherworldly décor in every direction. Columns of ruffled paper climb up the walls like the massive trees from which they originated, binoculars hanging from coils reveal individual high quality photos straight from Black Rock City, a pile of pillows and cushions surround a support beam to create a puddle of comfortable seating, racks of costumed clothing occupy the opposite side the one room loft, and rows of white benches are set up in front of a stage.
The show begins with a couple bickering and the acting is so good I wasn’t sure if this was part of the show or not. A rabbit with a megaphone is your narrator and guides you through different times and places. The costumes range from the elaborately decorative to actors wearing next to nothing. There are more high energy musical numbers than I could count, each dripping with original creativity and utilizing an orchestra’s wealth of acoustic instruments. Plain white screens on either side of the stage make for periphery shadow puppetry as an additional facet to the main show.
Without revealing too much, I can tell you that this show is beautifully fun for adult audiences. Although geared specifically toward Burners with many “in” jokes, those who have never ventured to the playa are sure to get a kick out of these catchy rock anthems.
Sadly, though, this review comes a bit late in that only several more shows will run in LA. The actors and producers will be taking a much deserved break, re-tool the show, and hopefully be taking the Burning Opera to theaters around the city.
The answer, by the way, is because the only things worth doing require lots of searching. For more info, check out http://www.burningopera.com