History Lit Returns

May 29, 2016

13315432_1105627226153427_3808910650311818793_nWe 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.

Only 13 performances are scheduled.


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




Unbound Productions Executive Director  Jonathan Josephson, Artistic Director Paul Millet, and Producing Artistic Director Jeff G. Rack have announced their newest immersive theatre event, History Lit: A Festival Of Timeless Stories, July 9-31, 2016 at the Pasadena Museum of History.

“We have brought on new directors and will have new cast members in new locations that will give the entire event new life and new energy,” says Producing Artistic Director Jeff Rack. “Folks who saw our show in 2012 will be treated to a new experience, and those that missed the show that year—well now is your chance!”

Said Josephson, “When HISTORY LIT was first presented in 2012, Unbound Productions was a young theatre company with only three fully produced events to its name – though very well received, only 700 people attended HISTORY LIT that year. Now, Unbound Productions is an Ovation Award-winning, highly regarded immersive theatre company that has produced 25 world premiere plays (many of which have gone on to productions with other companies) and some of the most highly regarded site-specific work in the region. More than 15,000 people have attended Unbound events since its inception in 2008. Wicked Lit has sold out every year since 2013.”

PMH Executive Director Jeannette O’Malley said, “History Lit shines a spotlight on Pasadena Museum of History’s historic Mansion and grounds in a fresh and exciting approach that combines our cultural heritage with classic literature and engaging theatre.”

The production team includes Unbound’s Resident Costume Designer Christine Cover, the Ovation Award Winning design team (Wicked Lit 2014) sound of Drew Dalzell and Noelle Hoffman,  and Jeff G. Rack (Production Designer).


All photos courtesy of Unbound Productions

All photos courtesy of Unbound Productions



The Garden Party
By Jonathan Josephson
Directed by Aurora Long
Adapted from the short story of the same name by Katherine Mansfield

It is an ideal night for a party at the Sheridan estate and young Laura has had the time of her life playing hostess to a throng of party guests. But when an unexpected accident befalls a stranger who lives down the road, Laura’s congenial life may be changed forever.


Two Pictures in One
By Paul Millet
Directed by Darin Anthony
Adapted from the short story “The Two Altars: Or Two Pictures in One” by Harriet Beecher Stowe

A simultaneous chronicle of the lives and fates of two early Massachusetts families: the Wards, an 18th Century Anglo family living during the early days of the American Revolution and the Caffeys, a 19th Century African-American family living ten years prior to the Civil War. By juxtaposing these two points in time, Two Pictures in One examines ideas of freedom and personal consequences.


Eric Harris, Tia Nalls, and Aries Sanders; photo by Daniel Kitayama

Eric Harris, Tia Nalls, and Aries Sanders; photo by Daniel Kitayama


The Girl Who Owned a Bear
By Jonathan Josephson
Directed by Paul Millet
Adapted from the short story of the same name by L. Frank Baum

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.


Performance Dates: July 13-31, 2016. All performances will start at 7:00 p.m.
July 9-July 10
July 14- July 15 & July 17 (No performances on July 16)
July 21- July 24
July 28- July 31


Unbound Productions
Founded by Jonathan Josephson, Paul Millet, and Jeff G. Rack, the mission of Unbound Productions is to create immersive adaptations of classic literature as a way of reimagining great stories for new audiences. With its flagship theatre festivals Wicked Lit, History Lit and Mystery Lit, Unbound takes pride in engaging in ambitious storytelling and creating surprising and impactful theatrical experiences.


About History Lit
The focus of History Lit is to bring a new life to great literature that reflects history in creative ways. In 2011, the inaugural History Lit reading series was produced in conjunction with Pasadena Museum of History and features works by great women writers of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Performances took place at the Museum as well as private readings at Los Angeles-area schools. In 2012, these plays will be presented in a full production on the grounds of the Museum and the Fenyes Mansion. The flash poetry performance Charles Bukowski: Back at Barney’s, in conjunction with the City of West Hollywood, Barney’s Beanery, and PST… It All Started Here, made a splash in February 2012 as History Lit’s spontaneous debut.


Fenyes Estate. Home of Dr. Adalbert and Eva Fenyes, Orange Grove Boulevard. Designed by Marston & Van Pelt. Photo: Kat Ward

Fenyes Estate. Home of Dr. Adalbert and Eva Fenyes, Orange Grove Boulevard. Designed by Marston & Van Pelt. Photo: Kat Ward





Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena