Los Angelinos have just two more weeks to catch a performance of “Hopscotch: A Mobile Opera for 24 Cars,” which has become the hottest performance in Los Angeles ever since opening on Halloween. The mobile opera takes place inside a fleet of stretch limousines stocked with performers, which travel in a bizarre caravan through downtown, Elysian Park, and Boyle Heights.
Four spectators crowd into a limousine with the actors, then play musical cars as the limousines stop at designated “sets” around the city. Director Yuval Sharon is the “strikingly inventive” mastermind behind innovative opera company The Industry, which is disrupting an art form that hasn’t been this exciting for decades, possibly even centuries.
In a recent Los Angeles Times review, Mark Swed confirms that the mobile opera accomplishes the impossible repeatedly throughout its 36 chapters:
“A couple of these scenes are drop-dead gorgeous. Others take your breath away for their audacity. To stand on the roof of one of those fancy new arts district apartment buildings, with stunning city and mountain views, and hear a faint trumpet playing from atop a distant tower can prove ineffably moving. To be in a limo while an actor is in earnest conversation with a motorcyclist driving alongside, thanks to the magic of wireless microphones, is unnerving.”
Some reviewers have dubbed it the Asphalt Opera. Asphalt is a familiar sight to Los Angelinos. Not only does it bubble up from the depths of the famed La Brea Tar Pits, but an estimated 18 billion tons of it cover 2.6 million miles of U.S. roadways. What’s more, 94% of parking lots are covered with the black paving material. But never before have the words asphalt and operatic arts fit so perfectly together.
Sharon and The Industry didn’t invent the mobile opera — Robert Moran produced “39 Minutes for 39 Autos” in San Francisco in 1969 — but they are disrupting the L.A. fine arts scene for the better. It’s hard for reviewers to write about Hopscotch without resorting to hyperbolic cliches, like it will “take your breath away” (the LA Times) and “a theatrical experience that defies description and will blow your mind” (Broadway World).
Dedicated fans and opera virgins have until November 22 to catch this mobile opera in the field. Information on tickets can be found on the Hopscotch website, and free performances can be viewed remotely at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).