A Night at Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta
The city of Los Angeles has a most fascinating history. How could it not when it grew from a rural town of just over 1000 residents in the 1850’s to a full blow city of over 100,000 by 1900. Fifty years after that it was a true metropolis with almost 2 million residents. A city with such rapid population growth certainly has a story to tell. Over the years I’ve heard the tales of Charles Lummis, the Dohenys, the Clarks and the Rindges and have been enthralled by each and every one. Last night I added a new story to my collection when I attended a performance of Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta.
Eugenio Plummer, the son of a British father and a Spanish/Irish mother, was heir to a land holding that covered (what we now know of as) Hancock Park, mid-Wilshire, the Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood. Through various twists and turns the land was eventually reduced to a 3 acre parcel that is now Plummer Park in West Hollywood. Eugenio lived to the age of 91 and many of his tales were gathered in book called Señor Plummer: The Life and Laughter of an Old-Californian released in 1942. Today, the book serves as inspiration for Rogue Artists Ensemble’s latest production, Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta which runs through November 18 at Plummer Park.
When I was invited to attend the performance I didn’t know what to expect and accepted solely because it concerned LA history. I’m not a critic and don’t have the insight to truly analyze a show. I just know what I like and, I have to say, I LOVED Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta.
Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta is a immersive experience that transports the viewer into the center of Eugenio’s larger than life history. Through song, dance, puppetry and more the fascinating story of Mr. Plummer is brought to life.
If I had to chose a phrase to describe it I would say “choose your own adventure.” After a brief introductory act we are visited by 3 versions of Señor Plummer as well as various friends and family. From there we choose one figure to follow and start our journey into Eugenio’s past. We may join him in 1876 or 1900 or instead follow his mother or pirate friend. Each journey brings us to unexpected places and unique experiences. After we’re through with one we move on to another time period, another locale, another part of his life story.
Now, you may be thinking “that sounds nice but it’s just a play, right?” Wrong. It’s so much more than that. Throughout the night I found myself in an orange grove serenaded by the author, Helen Hunt Jackson, seated around the table at the Plummer home conversing with Eugenio’s mother and traversing a deep, dark cave to hear the tale of the bandito Tiburcio Vasquez. Those are but a few of the adventures I had.
Thanks to the beautiful set design it truly felt like I was traveling into the magical world of the past. Add to that the period soundtrack and the superb acting of all the players and I was completed immersed in the tale of Señor Plummer.
Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had this year. Thanks to Rogue Artists Ensemble the fascinating story of a most legendary Angeleno has been rediscovered and brought to life beautifully. I’m better for having experience it.