The Hopscotch Opera
Inspired by the 1963 Julio Cortázar novel Hopscotch, which consists of 155 chapters and a table of instructions for skipping through them, “The Hopscotch Opera” was a series of 90-minute performances that took place in and around limousines traversing the streets of Los Angeles in October and November 2015. With four people per vehicle sitting knee-to-knee with singers and musicians, performances felt personal, even voyeuristic. The elaborately choreographed production included transfers from car to car and stops at such iconic locations as Elysian Park and the Bradbury Building (familiar to viewers of Chinatown and Blade Runner); wireless connections enabled performers on distant rooftops to stay in synch with one another. The story was told in 10-minute “chapters” that unfolded in a different order for each group, rendering the narrative fragmentary and nonlinear. Audience members had no idea where they would be taken next or what aspect of the story they would experience.
The effect was hallucinatory and surreal, with characters slipping in and out of alternate realities as well as unexpected insights into life in a car culture. “Driving along in a car with a man mourning his dead wife, accompanied by two violas . . . makes you suddenly, physically conscious of all the lives and sorrows and joys going on in all those cars driving past on the freeway all the time,” The Wall Street Journal concluded. “Mr. Sharon has broken the fourth wall with a vengeance.”