History Lit Opens July 9th

Jul 5, 2016


Our gratitude to Unbound Productions for providing stills from the upcoming 2016 History Lit, which opens on July 9.

As in the 2012 productions, the program includes adaptations of Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s The Two Altars: Or Two Pictures in One. New this year is an adaptation of L. Frank  Baum’s The Girl Who Owned a Bear. It will be staged inside the Pasadena Museum of History amidst the current exhibit “Flying Horses & Mythical Beasts: The Magical World of Carousel Animals.”

What happens when a haplessly malevolent storybook author attempts to take his revenge for repeated rejection on a publisher’s insufferable young daughter? We’re not exactly sure, but we do know this – don’t mess with the bear. Wizard Of Oz-creator L. Frank Baum created a comedy-of-manners that is part-farce and part-fairy tale; now, enjoy this story as it comes to life inside a world renown collection of carousel animals that make up our young heroine’s outlandish nursery.
 (Unbound Productions)


Chairman Barnes and Morgan Zenith in The Girl Who Owned a Bear; photo by Daniel Kitayama

(L to R) Morgan Zenith and Chairman Barnes in “The Girl Who Owned a Bear”; photo by Daniel Kitayama


(L to R) Elyse Ashton and Chairman Barnes in The Girl Who Owned a Bear; photo by Daniel Kitayama

(L to R) Elyse Ashton and Chairman Barnes in “The Girl Who Owned a Bear”; photo by Daniel Kitayama


There are only 13 scheduled performances of History Lit.


History Lit: A Festival of Timeless Stories
July 9th-31st, 7 p.m.
Pasadena Museum of History, 470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena 91103
Parking is free on site or on the street (please read street signs carefully)
Tickets: $40-$60, purchase tickets here
Concessions will be available for purchase at the venue
For details, visit


Brian Pope and Ilona Kulinska in The Garden Party; photo by John Thvedt

Brian Pope and Ilona Kulinska in “The Garden Party”; photo by John Thvedt


We wrote in May 2012:

It’s an interesting idea: “original stage adaptations of literature that reflect history.”

Unbound Productions in collaboration with the Pasadena Museum of History present History Lit, three short plays that the audiences experience as they are led through Fenyes Mansion, Curtin House, and the Estate’s gardens. You walk and you watch a play—now that’s intriguing.

And so it was. In a basement area of Fenyes Mansion, we watched an excerpt of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “The Two Altars: Or Two Pictures in One” while some of us, the audience, stood to the sides, sat on benches along the wall, and even sat on a bench in the middle of the scene. The contrast of worlds in this adaptation created a powerful and an emotional response.

For Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” we were upstairs in the Feynes Mansion foyer, dining room, and several side rooms on the main floor, inches away from the actors, following them from scene to scene—the piece was compelling and well-performed. For the last excerpt, Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party,” we walked down pathways and into the gardens.

History Lit is immersive. When the directing or acting was less than hoped, one craved a chair or a quick end to the scene, though on the other hand, the powerful effect of this concept flourishes with strength of talent, which the majority of the History Lit players possessed. The immediacy we had with the actors as they argued, pleaded, discussed, harangued, disbelieved, and manipulated; their emotions seeped through our skin.

History Lit audiences will experience three 25-30 minute events as they are led through the Museum gardens and exhibition hall. This is a moving, walking show—patrons must be able to comfortably walk a minimum of 1,000 paces, stand for 15 minutes at a time and climb stairs in order to experience the production.


Eric Harris and Tia Nalls in "Two Pictures in One"; photo by Daniel Kitayama

Eric Harris and Tia Nalls in “Two Pictures in One”; photo by Daniel Kitayama







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