Von Alysia Gray Painter
21.03.2017 / NBC Los Angeles
When pitching a "pedestrian-based live art experience" to an adventurous, try-new-things friend, it can be difficult to fully explain what transpired while holding back a few of the delightful surprises.
But to say that "Remote L.A.," a new Center Theatre Group, on-the-streets production, is a good fit with its city is an understatement.
Los Angeles, after all, is home to many excellent guided walks (which this is) and occasional flash mob-style happenings (there's a bit of that to this) and a strong, futuristic sci-fi streak, one that shines in films like "Her" and "Blade Runner."
The futuristic part of "Remote L.A.," which begins at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes and ends in, well, another part of downtown, comes courtesy of your A.I. guide, the one speaking in a slightly halting fashion inside your loaner headphones.
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Starting at La Plaza, the artificial intelligence voice in your ears will take you to several spots, including Union Station and Pershing Square, and there's a Metro trip involved, too (a TAP card is provided).
The robot-charming voice will ask you to ponder the people around you, the city's past, and a host of philosophical questions that tie to our bustling megalopolis, how thoroughly we observe what's happening around us, and the way we act when we're in a group.
"Remote L.A." which was created by "documentary theatre team" Rimini Protokoll, is operating on a few levels, as mentioned, with public performance, personal storytelling, and the-world-as-a-stage-ism all weaving together in one colorful piece of fabric.
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It can seem quirky and a bit of a gas at first glance, but the complex ideas the event is built upon have gravitas and longevity.
It's on through Sunday, April 2. Note that while the start is at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, you'll need to check-in at the Ahmanson Theatre box office before walking the four or so blocks over to La Plaza.
A good note, too: There's a waiver to sign, with notable amount of walking on this adventure, and stairs, too, so read all before setting out to discover a "secret Los Angeles."