Wicked Lit Leaves An Amazing First Impression


photo courtesy of Daniel Kitayama

After hearing about Unbound Production’s Wicked Lit for the past few years we finally had a chance to check it out and we were mesmerized by the phenomenal set design, special effects and acting.  The acting is as good as any Broadway performance but in a much cooler setting.  Wicked Lit takes place at the Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery in Altadena, California.  The stunning mausoleum is a century old and might remind you of the kind of mausoleum you’d see in Europe full of wrought iron and stained glass windows.  The cemetery itself is also beautiful and tranquil with its old tombstones and tree covered land.  Don’t get us wrong, it’s still spooky to be in any cemetery or mausoleum at night and Wicked Lit uses the setting perfectly.

Guests gather in a seating area which acts as the starting pointing as well as the meeting point in-between plays.  This area also acts as a theater in the round where you’ll get to see “The System” based on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether”.  Here the audience sees a performance by Alan Abelew who plays Dr. Maillard and Kyle Fox as Henri.  At the beginning of the night the crowd is broken into three groups where each one is taken to a certain play.  They all begin and end around the same time so when the audience gets back to the meeting point they’re rotated to a new act.


photo courtesy of Daniel Kitayama

This year’s three productions are the “Grove of Rashomon”, an adaptation of Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Japanese story “The Grove”, which is a story about a lady whose daughter is missing and son-in-law is dead.  While seeking answers she meets an old lady along the way who gives her stones to cast which raise the dead to hopefully answer her questions.  Each stone she casts thought makes her age five years.  Alpha Takahasi plays the role elegantly as Masago as she’s seen aging and dealing with loss and frustration; “The Fall of the House of Usher” based on Poe’s tale of a haunted house and cursed family lineage; and “The Ebony Frame” which tells the story of a man possessed by a woman in a painting with the story ending in a Satanic wedding.


photo courtesy of Daniel Kitayama

Our favorite act was “The Fall of the House of Usher” which takes place in the mausoleum.  The setting and lighting are incredible as are the acting by Devon Michaels, Carlos Larking and Tanya Mironowski.  The special effects actually make you feel like you’re in the haunted house where we meet Roderick Usher and his sister.

The evening culminates back at Doctor Maillard’s Asylum where the audience is looking in as outsiders at an institution for the criminally insane.  They get an enjoyable ending to the evening which makes them look forward to what Unbound Productions brings next year with Wicked Lit.  The whole experience lasts around three hours and you’ll have to walk around the cemetery and mausoleum including walking up stairs.  It is recommended to dress appropriately for the weather as it can get cool on certain nights being in the open.  Wicked Lit runs Thursday-Sunday until November 14.


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