Michael Arden Readies Bold Theatrical Experiment La Ronde

Recently, Charlie Sheen indicated via Twitter that he was most definitely planning to attend a night of La Ronde, the adults-only LA theater experiment set for July 18-22. Not bad for a pilot production most people around town have yet to learn about.

“I was definitely thrilled to be re-tweeted by Charlie,” La Ronde director and Anger Management co-star Michael Arden tells FishbowlLA. “He’s such a good guy who takes a vested interested in everyone he works with, I’m not surprised he tweeted it. It’s hard to say how much impact the re-tweet had, given the mysteries of the Internet. But I have a feeling we got a few more glances at our Kickstarter page than we would have gotten, otherwise.”

That Kickstarter page is the key. The select group of people who helped Arden reach his $6,000 not-for-profit goal and an equal amount of VIPS such as Sheen are the only ones who will get to watch the intimate couples dramatics, based on 1900 source material by Arthur Schnitzler. Attendees will receive nightly instructions to show up at various Hollywood locations, without knowing who’s in the various playlet elements or where the action might lead them.

“What drew me to staging this piece as a promenade-style production was that in LA Ronde, the sexual encounters between people are almost like a baton-relay,” Arden explains. “I wondered what it would be like if the audience was passed through the story, like a baton. I was also very inspired by several productions by the theatre company Punchdrunk, an English immersive theatre group. I love the idea of voyeurism in this play and setting it in such an intimate environment.”

Twelve to 14 people will watch each night’s performance, staged at at ten different locations. The same cast of about a dozen actors, dancers and performers will put on the provocative live-performance pastiche. “There will definitely be some faces people will recognize,” Arden teases.

This writer-director is one of the very few Kickstarter users who hoped not to greatly exceed his fundraising goal, so as to keep the audience numbers contained. Sure enough, by deadline, Arden had raised just a bit over his target number.

“If this production goes as planned, we have blueprints to expand the scope,” Arden promises. “Separately, The Forest of Arden Theatre Collective will do more site-specific and unique productions. A production of the play, Betrayal, by Harold Pinter is already in the works. The mission of the company is to blur the line between audience and performance as well as create theater in non-conventional spaces.”

[Photo of Arden courtesy: @michaelarden]

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