The Day Shall Declare It
Reviewed by Vanessa Cate
Wilderness in “Derelict Arts District Warehouse”
Extended through July 31
The Day Shall Declare It opened in London in 2014 and played in Los Angeles last year to largely sold-out audiences. it is a real gift to theater goers to get this opportunity again.
The show is sexy. Dangerous. Dynamic. Surreal. Real. And something you simply have to see.
When you enter the 1925 “Derelict Arts District Warehouse” on East 7th Street — discernible from downtown L.A.’s distinct sprawl only by the words “The Day Shall Declare It” splashed in white paint across old brick — expect to be transported. Inside, Nina Caussa’s period scenic design instantly assaults you and compels your submersion. (If you are wise, you will get there early and grab an old-fashioned at “The Paradise,” the speakeasy-type bar in the back. It will prime you for what’s to come.)
And what is to come? Well, that’s actually difficult to describe, and truly this incredibly personal immersive experience simply must be witnessed first-hand. But in essence what unfolds is a tapestry of works by Tennessee Williams and Studs Terkel, boldly performed by a trio of outrageously impressive actors in the detailed and rooted world Caussa has created. The space is lit to perfection by Iain Court, with sound and music masterfully designed by John Zalewski. And while the performance is rich with text, ultimately The Day Shall Declare It is primarily a dance piece, or at least equal parts text and movement.
Developed and co-directed by Annie Saunders (who also performs) and choreographer (an awe-inspiring Sophie Bortolussi), The Day Shall Declare It seeks in part to explore the implications of a crippled economy and the necessity of work. But really, so much more is accomplished here, as the play explores such themes as human desire, desperation, pride, exhaustion, and relationships.
There is no traditional seating; instead, the audience is welcome to explore the play through the 3,000 square foot warehouse. And if you’re ever in a spot a performer might need, they will gently but firmly guide you to a new one.
Saunders, Anthony Nikolchev, and Chris Polick are intimidatingly proficient in all aspects of their performance, from their skillful expression of a range of emotions to their display of mating-ritual-cirque. All three members of the ensemble are outstanding, but Polick, it must be said, is a rare and real star.
Some advice: Get there early and finish your drinks (served to you by “The Vagrant Bartenders”) before the show. Wear comfortable shoes. Enjoy some awesome Louisiana ribs afterward as the Pint-Sized Cocktail Orchestra, a delightful period-appropriate, band, play. And enjoy this one of a kind experience before it’s too late.
The Day Shall Declare It, 2051 East 7th St., Downtown L.A.; Tues.-Sun. 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.); Extended through July 31. Thisisthewilderness.com Running time: Approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.