Most of us treat our rides like personal karaoke-mobiles—the freeways are full of soloists belting out “Wrecking Ball” with insular abandon. On weekends from October 31 through November 15, the guerrilla opera company the Industry captures that sense of intimacy on a large scale with Hopscotch, a roving opera composed of 24 “chapters” performed inside 24 cruising stretch limousines. “We are creating a massive structure that we cannot control,” says Yuval Sharon, who left his post as project director of New York’s contemporary opera lab VOX to found the Industry in 2010. “It may be a train wreck—a limo wreck! But someone just told me, ‘It’s not art if it doesn’t have the potential to be a total disaster.’ And I think that is absolutely true.”
The group has courted chaos before—take 2014’s Invisible Cities, an “opera through headphones” performed inside downtown’s bustling Union Station. But this new venture poses an even greater challenge for Sharon, who is also the Industry’s art director: In Hopscotch 150 cast members bring the work of 12 local composers and writers to life from the crowded confines of vehicles zigzagging through downtown and Eastside neighborhoods. Ticket buyers choose one of three driving routes, each with eight cars featuring a nonsequential portion of the opera (a package for the entire saga is also available). Singers and instrumentalists in each set of wheels stage a ten-minute scene, which takes place en route to another destination. A second limo holds the next installment of the story, and so the show goes for about 90 minutes. For the finale, all 24 limos converge on the Central Hub, a temporary structure in the parking lot of SCI-Arc.
With such compact venues, seats are limited, but the Industry plans to live-stream the whole show from the Hub free of charge. “There is an incredibly open-minded, receptive audience here,” Sharon says of Los Angeles. “I could tell that this was going to be fertile soil for the kind of explorations I wanted to do.”