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Bridging Old and New

By Zachary Cantrell

Earlier this month, I closed my first professional show in Los Angeles with Downtown Repertory Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Though one of The Bard’s most treasured comedies, this production was far from typical. In an attempt to bring the story to a modern audience we decided to contemporize it, setting it in an Orange County luxury resort called The Messina.

And what better place to put on this show than Olvera Street?

Photo by Kevin Stanchfield on Flickr

Also referred to as El Pueblo De Los Angeles, Olvera Street is considered the birthplace of the City of Angels. It is a place
that seems simultaneously frozen in time and humming with everyday modern Los Angeles activity. I did not know what to make of it. Business men and women bustle to and from Union Station (located across the street), and tourists snap pictures of themselves on the back of a painted stone donkey, while local families salsa dance in the square. On this tiny street, all walks of life mix and weave among each other, creating a bizarre collage of Los Angeles life.

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