Downtown Repertory Theater to Kick Off Season with The Tempest

The Downtown Repertory Theater Company will begin its fourth season (and third at the historic Pico House at Olvera Street in downtown L.A.) with The Tempest (June 3 – 17), followed by Chekhov’s Three Sisters (June 29 – July 15) and Hamlet (July 27 – August 12). The company originally started on the vacant 6th floor of a parking garage at 4th and Main before moving to the Pico House, which was built in the 1870s. With its three-story courtyard, natural thrust stage and balconies at every level, it is reminiscent of the Globe in London. Past productions have included Romeo and Juliet, Waiting for Lefty, 12th Night and Julius Caesar

Four years ago, on the dusty sixth floor of a parking structure at 4th and Main that no one would think to call a stage, an ash-smeared dancer struck a match and, in the words of Peter Brook, “an act of theater was engaged.” Since that moment, Downtown Rep has been defying the notion that a theater ought to be a room with black walls, the stage covered in spike tape, the audience separated from the actors and hidden and in the darkness.

“I’m always surprised to see our audience keep coming back after all we’ve put them through,” says artistic director Devon Armstrong, remembering the Rep’s production of Macbeth. “It featured a car-chase around the attendees, who found themselves immersed in the battle whether they liked it or not.” The Downtown Rep now performs in the historic Pico House under the sponsorship of the City of Los Angeles, but continues to rebel against theatrical norms. “One thing’s for sure”, says Armstrong, “our audience has been fully complicit in our defiance…they’re a pivotal character in every show…we’ll never dim the lights and leave them in the dark.”

All performances of the Downtown Rep are free of charge, though seating is limited, reservations highly recommended and tax-deductible donations gratefully accepted. For more information visit www.downtownrep.com.

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