“Hopscotch,” the newest production from Yuval Sharon’s experimental opera company, has gotten a lot of attention for being an “opera on wheels.” Making LA’s car culture part of its story, the performance switches stages between no fewer than twenty-four cars (limos, to be exact) and myriad other iconic landmarks.
But “Hopscotch” is innovative a lot of other ways, too. One of its recurrent themes is the experience of memory: What life would be like if you could jump, hopscotch-style, from one scene to the next?
This seems to be the real thematic enterprise of “Hopscotch.” And in dividing the plot into a set of thirty-six non-consecutive, randomly experienced chapters, it succeeds powerfully not only in telling the story, but also in mimicking the experience of memory.
Chapter 3 Synopsis:
Animation by Olga Makarchuk
Written by Jane Stephens Rosenthal
Performed by Suzanna Guzman
Music by gnarwhallaby
Driving away from the accident, Lucha remembers why accidents are her greatest fear: she recalls growing up in Boyle Heights, how she grew to love art as a way to bring people together and to incite change. She remembers the gruesome car crash that killed her parents on the day of her quinceañera, and how her grandfather first inspired her love of puppetry. In the early stages of discovering who she is, she recalls meeting Orlando in another accident: spilling coffee on his suit. Even as she is maturing, the trauma of the accident still haunts her; the song that was playing on the radio never leaves her mind.
Chapter 13 Synopsis:
Animation by Roxana Bentu
Written by Sarah LaBrie
Performed by Julia Aks
Music by gnarwhallaby
The honeymoon is short-lived, as Lucha and Jameson begin drifting apart in married life. Jameson leaves the Jet Propulsion Lab to join a private firm creating a device that reads brainwaves. He wants to shift his focus from astrophysics to neuroscience. For once, Lucha does not recolor her hair, which gradually returns to its natural dark shade. She simultaneously loses interest in puppeteering and theater. In quiet desperation, she visits a fortune teller, who tells her to go home and wait for a phone call.
Photos by Corinne DeWitt.