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Interactions/Performance
THE SACRAMENTO BEE


From the Sacramento Bee
www.sacbee.com

L.A. Theatre Group Finds an Audience -- and Handcuffs -- By Tying Up Arden
Way.
by Annie O'Neill
October 16, 2006

Question: What happens when an L.A. theatre group journeys northward to
perform an experimental show in the great capital city?

Answer: They get arrested.

That's what happened to a member of Immanence Theatre, an L.A. theatre
company whose performance of Traction snarled traffic on Arden Way in front of
the Arden Fair Mall last Friday afternoon.

According to the company's artistic director Marva Lewis, the "play" concerns the
relationship and "nonrelationship" that transpires when a young suburbanite
crashes her car into a homeless man's shopping cart and destroys all of his
earthly possessions.

Apparently, this play could only be performed in the open air, which is why last
Friday, a brown Ford Escort driven by actress Julie Bouquess jumped a curb and
upset a shopping cart in front of the popular shopping center during rush hour.

The traffic backed up all the way from the Capital City Freeway exit to Fulton
Avenue and many drivers had to wait for upwards to twenty minutes to get from
one side of the "performance" to the other.

Some drivers were not amused.

"Why in the devil do they need to do that out here?" complains Carol McDaniel,
who had to wait fifteen minutes to move less than a mile. "It's like they're trying
to make Sacramento into L.A."

Not so, says Lewis, "Politics is theatre and Sacramento, being the nexus of
politics for California, is therefore the theatre capital of the state. Our intention
is to use this stage to bring art to the masses, to illuminate the plight of the less
fortunate."

They managed to attract the attention of the police who were neither informed
of the performance nor amused. They wrote tickets to the company for unlawful
assembly, performing without permit, and disrupting traffic. And when Ramiq
Sayer, who played the homeless man, started pounding a squad car with his
fists, the police did what police do -- slapped the cuffs on him.

"Ramiq is deeply professional. He was in character," says Lewis. "The character is
someone who has been stripped of all dignity by our modern society. His violent
reaction makes sense."

But will this -- or the $4,300 in fines bestowed upon Immanence Theatre for
their infractions -- deter them from performing this play again? Or at least do
so in a brick-and-mortar building?

"Definitely not," bristles Lewis, "Theatre can -- and should be -- everywhere. We
seek to challenge the notion that performance theatre should be confined to a
small, esoteric room by revealing that all human interaction is the texture of
theatre."

Brash words from an artist who may have taken the City of Angels by storm but
whose leading man was carted off in handcuff when they came to the City of
Trees.

Will there be another performance?

"October 24, Folsom Boulevard," answers Lewis with a grin.

And what about the audience? How did they respond to the car-stopping show?

"Breathtaking," intones local theatre enthusiast Emily Schmidt, who had known
about the company's exploits through a friend. She and a number of other fans
set out lawn chairs in front of the Arden Fair Borders to watch. "Just goes to
show you don't need a big, expensive whatsit to have a play."

"Obnoxious," groans McDaniel.

We'll have to wait to hear what the cops say.
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