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"Among Us" Promises In-Depth View of Daily Life in Santa Monica


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By Jorge Casuso

October 31, 2017 -- It sounds like the title of a sci-fi movie and promises to "reveal what may lie beneath the surface of daily life" in Santa Monica.

"Among Us," an audio-theater experience -- which takes place Saturday and Sunday -- transports participants listening to meditative prompts from "the bustle of the Santa Monica Pier to the green surroundings of Tongva Park."

Part of Art @ Tongva, an ongoing series of "intimate and informal events" in the six-acre park across from City Hall, the 2-hour audiovisual experience takes participants "through familiar places and invites you to look deeper," event organizers said.

Among Us poster

"How do you relate to strangers in the street? What can you imagine about the lives of the people brushing by?" organizers said.

"The experience moves from observation to participation, culminating in a theatrical game that gradually illuminates our hidden social structures."

The piece was created by Marike Splint, a Dutch theater maker based in Los Angeles known for performances staged in public spaces across the world.

Splint described the origins of "Among Us" during an interview with "@ThisStage" magazine" last year.

"What got me started was the book 'Community' by philosopher Zygmunt Bauman," Flint said. "In this work he outlines the tension between our desire for belonging and freedom. He argues that you cannot have both.

"I find this notion fascinating because I believe the biggest question of our time has to do with communality. I wanted to explore this in public space, so that participating performers and pedestrians passing by illuminate a response together, shedding light on a shared everyday reality."

Splint has created shows in sites that range from "a bus driving through a transitional neighborhood to wide open meadows, taxicabs, train stations and hotel rooms."

Her work has been presented at venues that include the Urbane Kunste Ruhr (Germany), Oerol Festival (The Netherlands) and the Live Arts Exchange Festival (USA), organizers said.

A faculty member in the Department of Theater at UCLA, Splint received her MFA in directing from Columbia University.

"This is a journey made up of observations and choices, where what you reveal is up to you," event organizers said.

"Among Us" takes place Saturday at 1 p.m. with a second show at 4 p.m. and on Sunday at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. There is a half-hour intermission during each performance.

Tickets, which are $15, can be purchased online at

Participants should check in at 200 Santa Monica Pier, by the "Soda Jerks" sign outside the Merry-Go-Round. Those participating should arrive at least 10 minutes before the performance and should wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes.

"Among Us" is presented by City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs, a division of the Community and Cultural Services Department and supported by Dutch Culture USA, a program of the Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York.


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