Play Dead at Geffen Playhouse

Magician Todd Robbins in PLAY DEAD
Magician Todd Robbins in PLAY DEAD

Location: The Geffen Playhouse in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90024

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Description: The Geffen Playhouse presents magicians Todd Robbins and Raymond Joseph Teller's interactive play, which explores themes of death, darkness, and deception. Expect some horrific images, glass eating, a flash of nudity, and some complete black-out moments, when unseen figures haunt the darkness, moving among the audience members like whispering ghosts.

PLAY DEAD runs from Wednesday November 20 through Sunday, December 22. Performances times are 8pm Tuesday through Friday; 3pm and 8pm on Saturdays; 2pm and 7pm on Sundays. The only Monday performance will be on November 25 at 8pm, during Thanksgiving Week; there will be no performance on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 26.

Tickets can be purchased at the Geffen Playhouse box office, online at their website, or by calling 310-208-5454. Prices range from $57 to $87.

Get more details from the press release below:

LOS ANGELES (November 13, 2013) – “We’re never so alive as when we’re scared to death” posits Todd Robbins in the opening moments of Play Dead, now appearing in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse. Eight performances have been added through December 22. This evening of spine chilling entertainment, a co-creation from the minds of magicians Teller, who directs and Robbins, the main performer, conjures spirits of serial killers and mediums in a show that is macabre and merry.

The themes of death, darkness and deception are explored in tales that are frightening, funny, erotic and jaw-dropping. With creepy delight, Robbins uses sight, sound and touch to raise a host of real life horrors including Albert Fish, a cannibalistic serial killer and Margery the Boston Medium whose nude séances raised the dead and evolved into orgies. Robbins performs a demon extracting surgery on a trusting audience member, an on-stage murder and the tidy ingesting of a light bulb.

The stories and events of this interactive production contain some disturbing images, brief moments of nudity and a great deal of fun. Audiences are surrounded by sights, sounds and touches of the returning dead. Material may be inappropriate for the faint of heart – or those under 18.

Teller, the smaller, quieter half of renowned magic duo Penn & Teller, worked with Robbins to develop Play Dead which was sparked from a desire to create a séance-based play. The show is an ode to the American spook show, a mid 20th century popular entertainment involving midnight shows, magicians and manipulation of the senses all taking place in the dark.

Long Beach, CA native Robbins, a magician and illusionist, developed an early fascination with all things spooky and sordid. As a teenager he snuck friends into the Long Beach Municipal Cemetery where he captivated them with macabre stories. Trained at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, his interest in magic and carnivals brought him to Coney Island where he held positions from sideshow performer to executive director. Todd appears on the DVD instructional series Modern Con Man including How to Scam Your Way to a Free Beer, Poker Night Scams and Cons and Work Place Pranks, and is the author of The Modern Con Man: How to Get Something for Nothing.

Play Dead was presented Off-Broadway in November 2010 where The Wall Street Journal called it a “funny, furious and wholly enthralling” and The New York Times proclaimed it as a “wild, wicked show.”

The Geffen Playhouse presents Play Dead. Written by Todd Robbins & Teller. Directed by Teller.

Todd Robbins raises spirits at the Geffen Playhouse.
Todd Robbins raises spirits at the Geffen Playhouse.
Todd Robbins disposes of a body.
Todd Robbins disposes of a body.
Todd Robbins summons the spirits of mediums, charlatans, and serial killers
Todd Robbins summons the spirits of mediums, charlatans, and serial killers

Play Dead poster

More in this series: 

  1. Play Dead at Geffen Playhouse
  2. Stage Review: Play Dead
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