“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Spring 2024 Tour: Entry #8

By Sam Hill

As we flew into California, the plane did that scary tipping motion as it turned to have a straight path to the runway. Whilst, as a nervous flyer, I find this frankly terrifying, it did offer an excellent view of L.A. The view was rows and rows of palm trees and pools. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many palm trees and pools in my life.

The following day I was lucky as I had a 6pm class allowing me most of the day to explore L.A. I opted for a trip to the Getty Museum. The Getty is perched on a hill overlooking L.A. You can get a small tram or walk up from the car park to the museum itself. I opted for the tram. It’s more scenic and I was put off by disconcerting signs on the walking route warning of cayotes, mountain lions and rattle snakes. Yeah, the tram is good for me.

The Getty has a reasonable collection of art, but maybe not as impressive compared to the Art Institute in Chicago or the Met. But in terms of the building and setting, the Getty is a work of art in and of itself. The modern building blends the natural and the man-made with a seamless ease. A man-made waterfall cuts through the rock and into a basin at the head of the garden. Flowers are arranged into intricate arcs and circles. Cacti are nestled together looking out onto L.A in the prickly warmth.

Citrus College, where we were working, is a community college. This means that many of the students are receiving a free (or practically free) higher education. The students are bright, grounded, intelligent. They have an excellent performing arts program and we engaged with many talented and promising young actors. When we performed for them, in the round, we found a new energy to the show. Something in having to slightly adapt the blocking for the theatre and the kind energy brought by the audience made for one of our favorite shows we’ve done here.

This week was unusual as we had a full week end off. A full week end off in L.A! Saturday I took the tram into Little Tokyo to treat myself to lunch. I then pottered to a local brewery to sample some of their produce, before meeting Lucy and her boyfriend George (aka G-force) to stroll along Venice beach.

As I have found with much of America, L.A is a city of extremes. On the one hand you have Beverly Hills, the Hollywood sign, Venice Beech, Malibu: the list goes on. But on the other, you see tents set up on the side of roads where people shelter, a woman passed out on the street, the homeless riding on trams for stop after stop after stop just to have somewhere to sit and then a man inhaling a misty vapor from a pipe to get away from it all. I left questioning the city and questioning myself.