It's difficult to express the exhilarating sense of the uncanny produced by an Annie Lesser immersive stage show. Since her L.A. debut at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival, the experimental theater auteur has fearlessly explored a densely poetic, deeply intimate and intensely personal dimension of the actor-audience relationship where few other directors have dared to go. How intimate? Let's just say it's hard to imagine being more in extremis with a performer this side of a Tinder hookup. 2015's Getting to Know You used the in-your-lap proximity of eight actors to probe eight different points in a relationship in rotating one-on-ones. This year, she debuted the ABC Project, her large-scale play cycle, which, over the next four years, will survey the full alphabet of intense catharsis and connection from A to Z. Her first piece, the site-specific A(Partment 8), locked audience members in the bathroom of a Hollywood flat with a murdered woman (Keight Leighn). The second play in the series, B(us), is set to premiere this fall.
Credit: Keight Leighn