Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Bleeding Through – New Play About the Fabric of LA

Big thanks to Jerry Sullivan of LA Garment & Citizen for tipping us to a new play at Shakespeare Festival/LA, 1238 W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. It’s called "Bleeding Through," and it’s an About…Productions production that digs into the history of Angelino Heights.

It’s not exactly a play. I think they used the word “experiential.” You walk into the theatre, and are met by a narrator who has befriended a widow who lives in a big old house in Angelino Heights, the neighborhood near downtown where Gloria Swanson used to live. He’s trying to figure out her history, which is intertwined with the history of the freeways, Latinos, corruption, the Red Line … in other words, it’s an LA story.

After he briefs you, you sit at tables in the audience as the actors move about you. During intermission, you can go on stage and poke around – looking for clues and further immersing yourself in the recent history of the area. Jerry’s wife Lorna and I did a reading of the “speeding ticket” scene from the "Double Indemnity" screenplay left out for us to see. Jerry ate the gummi bears in a covered dish. He says he's going to go see it again and, during intermission, look for clues to solve the mystery...

Even if you don’t care about the plot, it’s fun just to let the story and characters wash over you – you feel like you’re back in the LA of the 1920s to 1940s.

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(Photo: Victorian house at 1344 Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights built about 1895. Photo dated: Feb. 16, 1979. Credit: Chris Gulker/LA Public Library Herald-Examiner Collection.)