Tag Archives: Lexi Lallatin

Lexi’s Intern Journal: Theatre Bringing People Together

Lexi Lallatin leads class lesson on Outsider Art.

Lexi Lallatin leads class lesson on Outsider Art.

by Lexi Lallatin

One of the great things about working in a theatre is you get the opportunity to bring people together.

Theater starts the minute the lights go down and the outside world stops. In the darkened theater, the to-do lists and personal hardships fade into a different world that will be yours for the next two hours. In the dark, we are no longer different people but a collective group sharing the same experience. We taste the love Romeo has for Juliet, cry with John Proctor as he asks for forgiveness, and laugh with Eliza Doolittle as she dances all night. Theatre lets us reexperience first kisses, our first heartaches. It evens the playing field so we all can experience the same thing regardless of how different we are. As we experienced it with our last production, Citizen: An American Lyric. In the dark we were the oppressed and the oppressor. We became a collective unit attempting to understand racism.

But Friday, we got to experience a very different type of unifying. Friday we were able to have Eric Arboleda’s third grade class from Ramona Elementary School come to our theatre. And we stopped being actors and children and started becoming one collective unit.

Lexi Lallatin leading clasas lesson on stage.

Lexi Lallatin holding photo of Nukain Mabuza to students.

We started the day with a tour of the theatre which ended on the stage set up for our show The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek. There, surrounded by intricately designed rocks, sand, and a set we were able to discuss found art- particularly relating to Nukain Mabuza (The subject of the play). The children were able to see through the eyes of someone who lived during the apartheid. They talked about how they would have wanted to “express their emotions”. And once again, it testified to the unifying power of theatre. Where else would third grade children and theatre artists be able to bond over the artistic genius of an untrained artist during apartheid in South Africa? In the end, the kids were able to express themselves independently by painting their own rocks.

Lexi lallatin with Ramona School student on the set of 'Painted Rocks".

Lexi lallatin with Ramona School student on the set of ‘Painted Rocks”.

I speak for the Fountain Theatre when I say that this experience spoke to us on why we do theater. Theatre has the power to unify. To bring together. Every child was different. Some were too shy to speak and others couldn’t wait to tell you every detail of their day. Some spent the whole time making sure their rock was perfect, while others were more eager to get to the doughnut and play “duck, duck, goose”. Every rock came out different. Some were intricate, with dots and swirls. Some were blobs of a color the child swore was “marbled.” But in the end, all of the students were so excited to share and talk about their rocks.

I am so thankful for the wonderful Ramona Elementary School, to Eric Arboleda and his wonderful class, to American Builders Supply in Pacoima who donated the rocks, to Stan’s Doughnuts, and to all the people at the theatre who helped make this possible. This is the epitome of bringing people together. We are so thankful to be part of this community, and we are proud to say this is the type of thing we strive for.

Students from Ramona Elementary School.

Students from Ramona Elementary School.

Come to the Fountain Theatre and see The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek. Be part of the shared experience. See the children’s rocks in our lobby. Hear about Nukain Mabuza. On Friday, as the sun set on our collection of wet rocks drying in the sun, each with its own story behind it, I wondered what Nukain would have thought if he knew all the different people he brought together, on Friday and throughout therun of this play, to pay homage to his memory and his work.

Lexi Lallatin is from Portland, Oregon, and now an  intern at the Fountain Theatre. The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek runs to December 14th.  Info/Tickets

3rd graders enjoy artistic expression on ‘Painted Rocks Day’ at Fountain Theatre

SAM_0563Students from our neighborhood Ramona Elementary School on Mariposa Street only had to walk around the corner to experience a unforgettable  day of creativity, fun and artistic expression at the Fountain Theatre. The kids joined Fountain staff for ‘Painted Rocks Day’, a community arts event inviting the students to visit the theatre, learn about Outsider Art and rock painting, then choose and paint their own smooth rocks to express their world view and inner selves.

The educational activity was a satellite event of the Fountain Theatre’s west coast premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, dramatizing the life and vision of South African artist Nuzain Mabuza who painted hundreds of rocks on a hillside in bright colors and patterns to create his visionary “flower garden” .

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Led by teacher Eric Arboleda, the twenty-four 3rd graders arrived Friday morning and were given tours of the Fountain Theatre by staff members. The group was shown the remarkable ‘Painted Rocks’ set on the main stage, complete with real dirt, plants and a vibrant collection of painted rocks and boulders. 

Fountain intern Lexi Lallatin lead the class in a lesson discussing examples of Outsider Art and how art can be created by ordinary found objects. Lexi shared the story of Nuzain Mabuza and encouraged the students to imagine how they might transform everyday objects in their daily lives into magical art pieces.

The group then moved outside to the Fountain parking lot where a long art table holding rocks, paints and brushes was waiting. The students excitedly dove in and went to work. Each chose their own rock and were told to paint it however they wished, with as many colors and patterns they imagined, to express who they were and their own inner vision.  

The results were extraordinary. Simple gray stones were transformed into vibrant talismen of color and bright patterns.   The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They painted, laughed and chatted excitedly as they worked for one hour. Donuts and juice were served.  

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The rocks painted by the students will remain on display in the lobby of the Fountain Theatre throughout the run of The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek to December 14th. At that time, the rocks will then be given to the students to take home.   

We wish to thank American Builders Supply in Pacoima for donating the rocks for the students to paint, and Stan’s Doughnuts for the snacks. A shout-out to Fountain staff members Lexi Lallatin, James Bennett, Scott Tuomey, and Barbara Goodhill for helping to make the event a joyous success.   

‘Painted Rocks Day’ with Ramona Elementary School was created through Theatre As a Learning Tool, the Fountain Theatre’s educational outreach program dedicated to making art accessible to students and young people in Los Angeles.      

The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek is now playing and runs to December 14th. More Info/Get Tickets 

‘Citizen’ makes the audience hold its breath and then ask itself ‘What can I do?’

'Citizen: An American Lyric' at the Fountain Theatre

‘Citizen: An American Lyric’ at the Fountain Theatre

by Lexi Lallatin

Anytime I see a show that is addressing a hot topic issue, I have a small amount of trepidation. Because a majority of shows taking on the important subjects tend to do it from a soapbox, or in rare cases, stop being a show as much as a personal agenda.

So I wanted to research what kind of play Citizen: An America Lyric was before I stepped foot into the Fountain Theatre. I knew it was based on the poetry of award-winning African-American poet Claudia Rankine and adapted for the stage by award-winning Stephen Sachs. I had read all rave reviews. Everyone I knew was buzzing about how great of a show it was. So I expected I’d come out of the show thinking “That was a good show and now I know how to fight racism.” But, to my relief, Citizen doesn’t preach. No, it gives voices to the people society tends to speak for rather than listen to.

Citizen, while being about racism, isn’t so much about teaching the audience a lesson, as it is a breath. It’s the exact moment a friend says a racist comment and just like that you feel the audience breathing it in. They become the collective sternum letting the air settle into every crack of their ribs. But unlike every breath before it, the audience is unable to let it out. It gets choked up, stuck, its weight growing as seconds tick past. They feel that breath sit there in their chest, as the actors continue through more injustices. The play whirrs past, shedding light into this world that only those who have been oppressed have seen. And when the chest is finally able to let the breath go it comes out as a loud exhale. And thus the audience becomes the physical embodiment of the oppression itself.

Leith Burke in 'Citizen' at the Fountain Theatre.

Leith Burke in ‘Citizen’ at the Fountain Theatre.

The thing that is great about this play is that it is truthful. There will be different portions that will resonate with different people. The actors stop being characters but instead they become personification of thoughts, actions, and words. They are able to represent one person and a community in between sentences and this transition is seamless. And some moment will force you to look into the dirty thoughts you weren’t even aware you experienced. Lines will hit you so hard that days later “because white men can’t police their imagination black men are dying” will continue running through your head like a broken soundtrack.

Lexi Lallatin

Lexi Lallatin

Citizen is so effective because it doesn’t tell you how to think, as much as show you how people on both sides of the issue already think and how those separate thoughts evolve into actions. At the end I didn’t leave the theater going “racism is bad”, I instead left the theater thinking “What can I do? What can be done? Is there even a solution?” Citizen is the type of play that demands that the audience to take a closer look at the world around them and figure out if they are going to let out that breath and make a change. And in doing so, it is the type of theater every person should see.

Lexi Lallatin is the intern at the Fountain Theatre. Citizen: An American Lyric runs to Oct 11th. More Info/Get Tickets 

Meet new Fountain intern Lexi Lallatin: “I believe in the power of theater”


Lexi Lallatin

by Lexi Lallatin

As I am the new intern at the Fountain Theatre, I am supposed to tell you a little bit about myself. Where do I start?

Do I tell you that I can spend hours arguing my opinion on all things nerdy? (SuperWhoLockTer, Comics, Buffy. Try me.) I could mention that I have been compared to Leslie Knope more times than I’ve been to the gym. Should I mention that the fastest way to my heart is through Thai food? How do I even begin to scratch the surface?

I guess it’s best to start with my testimony of theatre. Testimony? That’s a strong word, Lexi. Yes, yes it is. But I believe in the power of theater, and that’s probably the number one thing you should know about me.

Lexi 2When I was a small child I imagined being famous. Not just in the vague sense that most children have, but I honed in on all the small details. I drew up lighting motifs that would spell my name behind me on stage (all purple and grey obviously). I practiced small talk for all interviews I was sure to be on (“oh Oprah, of course I sponsor Pokemon”). I knew that my stage name would be Lexi Lou (because I was too young to realize that it sounded like a stripper name). I had on my rose colored glasses and all the world was a stage, a stage in which revolved around me and how awesome I was.

I grew up in Oregon, the hub of children’s’ theaters and Shakespeare. At a young age, I didn’t necessarily have talent, but I was outgoing and had the ability to speak without a lisp so I got a fair amount of parts right off the bat. That led to acting lessons at some of the local children’s theaters and soon all my time was spent on one stage or another.  In fact I probably saw the fake set walls of charming houses more than I did my own house.

As I got older I stopped getting as many lead roles, and started getting more roles in the chorus. At first it was disheartening. My goal was to be famous and I didn’t see how being Whore #1 in Les Mis was going to lead me there. The sentence “There are no small parts, only small actors” became the bane of my existence. But I made a decision it was better to be singing the same alto notes in the chorus than be sitting home alone. And I’m glad I did because that’s when theater itself stopped being about the service it could be to promote me, and started being about the story, the experience, and the family.

Once on this IslandIn the musical Once on this Island it says “Our lives become the stories that we weave.” I have found this to be true. The plays I have worked on have forced me to look at my own set of beliefs and build upon them. Plays have taught me how to fight for my convictions, and what happens when society doesn’t. They have taught me how to empathize with people who hold beliefs other than myself. And most of all they taught me the importance of working with a family. A family of fellow artists who are all aspiring to the same vision. Theater isn’t just the exuberant final performance. It’s everything in between. It’s posting audition sheets, late night set construction, and ticket sales. Theater isn’t a star, it’s a group. And I wanted to do anything to be part of that group.

I went to BYU and studied Theater Education. My dreams started evolving less into starring roles and more into how to share and spread theater. I know I want to start my own childrens’ theater. I want to work with children and see them go from being the stars in their own lives to realizing how not only theater, but life, is all about the way we work and help each other.

So through the years I have tried to work in every aspect of theater. I have acted, directed, stage-managed, front of housed, ushered, advertised, managed, did lighting, built sets, for many different theater companies around Oregon and Utah. This past year I was in Australia had the experience to intern at Holden Street Theater helping see to all the daily tasks of running a theater.

Which brings me to now.

FT JTI am so excited to now be joining The Fountain Theatre. Los Angeles itself is daunting to me, but the wonderful family here has been nothing but welcoming and kind. It’s importance to not only the artists, but the community as a whole can be profoundly felt. I am so eager to learn all the things it has to offer, and more so to hear from you guys how it has impacted your lives as well.

I am so excited to be joining your community, your family. When I look back on the little girl, stealing microphones and dancing in tutus I think she would choose the love that emanates from this tight-knit theater over a thousand nameless fans any day.