As the second incarnation of cARTelís Living Room Tour, Epilogue, an original work by ensemble member Matthew Chester, toured all throughout southern California over the course of a month. The play was performed in 15 different homes and living spaces to hundreds of audience members of all ages and backgrounds. The performances were real, personal and raw, and the connection developed between audience and artist was all the stronger for it. It was, to say the least, a uniquely intimate experience.
The play, Epilogue, was, simply put, a drama about three people discussing survival after a major, apocalyptic event. It required nothing to put on but a few candles, some canned food and a jug of water. Because the actors were unfamiliar with the layout of each space, they had to improvise a good deal of the blocking, making each performance a different experience. And because of the size of the audience and the intimacy of the space, all the artists involved were able to connect with audience members both before and after the show. There was a check-in at the beginning of every show where the audience would say their name and describe how they were feeling, and afterwards a little dessert and a lot of discussion.
The setting also changed the atmosphere of the play in subtle ways. The background would range from elegant suburban homes to barely-furnished apartments and, in one instance, the hallway of a UC Irvine dormitory. The audiences varied from young teenagers to senior citizens, and their reactions ranged from hushed and solemn to loud and rowdy. But the audiences were always engaged, often moved and sometimes even inspired to create their own uniquely personal form of theater.
In all, cARTelís second Living Room Tour was a thoroughly successful venture in bringing challenging art to new and diverse audiences.