Topanga’s Littlest Theater Buys the Farm

Antony BartlettBy Antony Bartlett      June 26, 2020

Share Story on:

Topanga’s Littlest Theater Buys the Farm
Dear Topanga Community, I am writing to inform you that Topanga’s Littlest Theater is no more. A move to a heavenly Oregonian farm to pursue a long-held agrarian dream precipitates the closure. I dismantled the stage on Memorial Day weekend and packed it all away in boxes, perhaps to be re-invented as a farm theatre (who knows?). I was struck at the normality of the room left behind. A simple white Topangan bedroom, with white walls and a vaulted ceiling, with no hint that such magic had taken place in there. In fact, the only clue: pockmarked dry-wall where lighting bars, proscenium arches and wings were fastened. These traces soon to be glossed over and forgotten thanks to a can of spackle. The transitory, truly glorious nature of this project has left a deep impression in me. As I sit in this pedestrian room, empty save for a ladder and paint brush, I am spirited away. I can hear Chris Murphy twanging his mandolin, the Countess of Devon and elderly local sages reciting poetry from the now dismantled oak stage. The faint memory of wood saws being played to eerie effect, bathed in a pool of purple light, a live WhatsApp call projected from the Tiger’s Nest on Bhutan Night, a fairy light Moulin Rouge and an Eiffel Tower all merging into a kaleidoscope of healing love, community, joy, boundless talent, and sheer enthusiasm that made anyone lucky enough to see a performance forget themselves for a few moments. I can hear Kamakshi Hart’s shame talking to me, Adam’s stand-up making everyone fall about, bearded magicians, the entire audience reaching up for their party favor woolen berets being lowered on a clothes line, while serenaded by Tyler playing the Marseillaise. Young singers with voices beyond their years, proud parents clapping, drummers drumming, disco balls twirling and fragrant Valentine roses all manifested in a space that has dissolved into our collective memories. Of all the things that have happened in those short 18 months, I will never forget Tim O’Gara singing his own compositions about our “Crooked Canyon”. Topanga’s Littlest Theater gave us all a sense of place. A particular moment in time. It was before the Pandemic was a thing. It made us all feel alive and connected and close. And I don’t regret a single moment or ounce of energy that I put into this project. Thank you to everyone who brought their talents, in whatever form, to this short-lived, yet epic adventure. Long live Topanga’s Littlest Theater. I loved you so.
Antony Bartlett
      June 26, 2020

Share Story on:

Letters

spacer

OPINION

By Topic  |  OPINION 
Columnists
Letters
Featured
Commentary
EVENTS
Thinking Out Loud