‘Is It Thursday Yet?’ Combines Dance With Autobiography at La Jolla Playhouse

Is It Thursday Yet? allows La Jolla Playhouse to showcase interesting talents that San Diego audiences would probably never experience, even if they traveled to New York City, where these artists are usually based. In this case, the featured performer is Jenn Freeman, who identifies as Autistic, and who has devised a performance designed to bring audiences into her world and how she sees it. Audiences who enjoy experiencing forms of theatre that are different from the norm will likely appreciate Ms. Freeman’s art.

Images of Jenn Freeman
Photos courtesy of La Jolla Playhouse

Ms. Freeman produces pieces that combine dance, vocal performance, projections, and percussion. She has assembled a group of artists who collaborate with her regularly: Sonya Tayeh (choreography, stage direction), Holland Andrews (composer and performer), and Joseph Digiovanna (media and projection designer). Price McGuffey is also featured on drums. These individuals combine to bring audiences into Jenn Freeman’s world, including recordings of therapist Dr. Kimberly Gilbert, Ph.D.

The Playhouse has chosen to stage this piece in The Mandell Weiss Forum, a venue that I have not been in often. The audience surrounds the stage on three sides, and the audience levels are raked from stage level to the entrance level. This venue reminds me of a college lecture hall, and its design simultaneously pushes audience members away while providing a clear view of the performance. I wondered whether there was a metaphor lurking in the choice of venue.

The show is 90 minutes in length with no intermission. I admired the professionalism of the work while still finding the 90 minutes to go by slowly.

For the creative team, Rachel Hauck, scenic designer has worked with Jenn Freeman, as well as many commercial productions in New York. Márion Talán, costume designer, has many credits with New York dance companies. Cha See, lighting designer, and Melanie Chen Cole, sound designer, have worked with the Playhouse previously. The creative team contributed significantly to the quality of the production.

Autism has been labeled an “epidemic” recently. Ms. Freeman performs a great public service by bringing attention to people living with autism, and La Jolla Playhouse should be commended for including Is It Thursday Yet? in its current season.


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Photo of La Jolla Playhouse
La Jolla Playhouse
2910 La Jolla Village Drive La Jolla CA 92037 USA Work Phone: 858.550.1010 Website: La Jolla Playhouse website
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