The original plans for the property included an experimental arts and theater center, but it was never realized owing to financial and creative differences between Wright and Barnsdall. Nearly 96 years later, the UNESCO World Heritage-nominated site is finally getting its “theater house” debut.
Throughout May, Hollyhock will host performances of Fefu and Her Friends. Written by the legendary Cuban-American feminist playwright María Irene Fornés, the 1978 work explores “the pressures on women to conform to an ideal of femininity and meekness” and brings forth questions of “gender wage gaps, sexist political rhetoric, and women in leadership roles still plaguing our society,” according to the press release.
The socially conscious play will feature a diverse cast of women to “highlight the universal nature of their internalized repression.”
Directed by Kate Jopson and choreographed by Zsófia Nenes, with musical compositions by Daniel Szabo, the show will highlight the history of Hollyhock, as well as the “uncanny synergies” between Barnsdall and the eccentric female lead Fefu in 1935.
The production will start inside the home, then switch to the historic quarters and central courtyard, offering the 20-person audience an intimate experience.
Fefu and Her Friends opens Saturday, May 6, at 8pm and runs through Sunday, May 28. The production is sponsored in part by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation, in association with Circle X Theatre Co. and J.US.T. Toys Production.