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BWW Review: PORTALEZA at La Jolla Playhouse is a gorgeous avant-garde online experience

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A "psychedelic experience promising to unlock mysteries beyond your imagination"

BWW Review: PORTALEZA at La Jolla Playhouse is a gorgeous avant-garde online experiencePORTALEZA promises a connection into the beyond in the newest Digital Without Walls offering by the La Jolla Playhouse. Created by David Israel Reynoso of Optika Moderna (other WOW Festival productions included LAS QUINCEAÑERAS, WAKING LA LLORONA), this gorgeous, if dizzying, kaleidoscope-inspired virtual performance starts with the mail and ends with a message from beyond.

As summer wanes and fall approaches, this show features coded messages, secret sealed envelopes, and passwords in Latin - it is the perfect fit for those looking for something to ease the transition into "spooky season." Once you make your appointment with Optika Moderna's opticians the anticipation builds as you wait for an envelope from them. This appointment is to "pierce the veil" and help you see and receive a message from beyond.

The package includes some props to help guide the process, and enhance what you see and the message you receive. A letter with strict instructions, a paper mat with mysterious sigils and decorations that you write your name on and the name of who you hope to contact, and a "Hypnocular Device" which helps you focus on the magical, mystical, moving images are all you need to begin the journey.

BWW Review: PORTALEZA at La Jolla Playhouse is a gorgeous avant-garde online experience

The images start with what looks like a dot-matrix computer explaining how the process was discovered and inviting you in to experience it yourself; a little like combining Tron and an Ouji board. From there it challenges you to expand your expectations of an "online theatre experience."

BWW Review: PORTALEZA at La Jolla Playhouse is a gorgeous avant-garde online experience

The "Hypnocular Device" allows for your narrow phone screen to expand into your entire field of vision, while images, people, and movement dance before you and music washes over you. The contents of the mailed package also contain a mysterious envelope with strict orders not to open it until you are told to do so. With a variety of card options that could be sent and dependent upon each individual's input, there are many different ways this show can be experienced.

It's a gorgeous and avant-garde psychedelic experience promising to unlock mysteries beyond your imagination. Though if you're looking for a coherent or straightforward storyline this may leave you feeling more disoriented than connected to the universe.


PORTALEZA runs through October 4th, for information on the show and to book your own appointment with these mysterious opticians go to www.lajollaplayhouse.org

Photo Credits: DAVID REYNOSO/LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE


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From This Author E.H. Reiter