Audience participation plays a big role in ‘Alma’

In Theater & Arts

You’re invited to Alma Mahler’s 125th birthday
party.

Staged inside the Los Angeles Theater on Broadway Avenue,
“Alma” utilizes the entire venue to create a unique
theater experience where the audience becomes part of the play.

The plot follows Alma, a passionate Austrian woman, and her
numerous affairs throughout the years. The production is about
composer Gustav Mahler’s wife who enjoyed her elaborate
lifestyle. As bystanders, the audience explores her life over a
period of ten years. Scenes switch from the present-day to
flashbacks of her youth.

What sets this play apart from others like it is that it breaks
down the “fourth wall” between the audience and the
actors. While pre-curtain drinks are served before the show, the
actors blend in with the patrons or pretend to be waiters. The
spectators’ senses are inundated with constant activity with
performers roaming all over the theater. The audience is encouraged
to role-play as well, as they are escorted on an imaginary bus tour
full of foreigners trying to communicate with them.

During intermission, patrons are served dinner, more drinks and
dessert. They can take the time to discuss how confused about the
play they all were. I found that the overall reaction thus far was
that they were intrigued and were trying to follow the plot as
closely as possible.

The dining room unexpectedly transforms into a World War I train
station as Alma departs for her second honeymoon with a famous
painter. Because of her constant affairs, she’s called the
Viennese goddess.

What lured me into going to this play was that I’ve never
experienced one where you actually get to interact with the actors.
What was even more fascinating about the entire venue was that when
you walk inside, you will feel that the setting is like
European-history come to life.

Not only did I participate in the play but some of the actors broke
beyond the fourth wall when I was locked out of a parking
structure.

“Alma” runs Thursdays through Sundays until December.
Tickets are $125, including admission, drinks, and a buffet dinner
and dessert.

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