Your phone rings. The voice on the other end, a player in a jailbreak plot, gives you the location of the meet. It's on for tomorrow, in Little Italy. You show up, and your contact gives you the details, plus your first clue on how to proceed in the conspiracy.
You're immersed in Accomplice San Diego, the latest project of La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls unconventional-theater program. The experience—part play, part game—happens not on a stage, but on street corners and in bars, restaurants and shops.
"The audience gets dropped into the middle of a crime story that's going to unfold throughout all these locations," says creator Tom Salamon. "And you have to figure out where to go next based on clues, and you come across actors in all of these spots, and you don't know who they are, but they know who you are, so it makes you paranoid about every strange person that's out on the street or in a restaurant or a bar."
The "audience" is groups of 10 that start every half hour; the experience takes two hours. But what happens if you misinterpret a clue?
"Well, hopefully we track you down," Salamon says. "But that is part of what happens, and we allow for that. That's always the best stuff. All sorts of different things happen: People dig through garbage and they think that they've found something that was significant, and they follow it. And they walk up to a random crazy person who's thrilled to get the attention of 10 people, and they listen to him and they think he's an actor and they jot down everything he's saying."
Salamon and his sister started Accomplice in New York City in 2004. Actor Neil Patrick Harris experienced it and helped bring it to Hollywood and then to London. La Jolla Playhouse approached Salamon about doing it in San Diego. The San Diego run began in previews on March 26; the official run is from Friday, March 29, through April 21. There are eight performances per day, Thursdays through Sundays. $35-$49. lajollaplayhouse.org/accomplice-san-diego
2 RIGHTEOUS THRILLER
Revered as a saint and a martyr, Thomas Becket made a name for himself as Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century as he tangled with King Henry II over the rights of the church. Eventually, Henry grew frustrated and allegedly yelled to his underlings: "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" There's some question as to whether it was a direct order, but the resulting assassination provides the story and title for Murder in the Cathedral, an opera by Ildebrando Pizzetti that opens at the Civic Theatre (1100 Third Ave., Downtown) at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30, and runs through April 7. Based on a play by T.S. Eliot, the opera is sung in Italian with English translations shown above the stage. $45-$275. sandiegotheatres.org.
3 SAY IT, SPRAY IT
In last week's issue, Seth Combs spent time with local graffiti artist Neko. They toured the city, looking at graffiti art, and talked about the state of the art form in San Diego. Hear more on the subject at Art Pulse (2825 Dewey Road, Suite 103, in Point Loma) on Thursday, March 28, during Graffiti: A Journey from Misunderstood to Museums. From 7 to 9 p.m. local graffiti artists will talk about their experiences, the popularity of street art and the future of the local scene. At 6 p.m. Friday, March 29, round out your graffiti education at Subtext Gallery (2479 Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy) with the opening of Chop Sticks, a graffiti-art show featuring pieces by Neko and Persue. artpulse.org, subtextgallery.com