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The thing about Shia LaBeouf – perhaps the best thing – is that the dude is an artist, through and through. Sure, he swings for the fences with some admittedly weird performance experiments. But when he clicks, it really sends a message about how often he has his fingers on the pulse. Take, for example, LaBeouf’s latest pop up project. It’s a live-theater experience, but it’s a drive-in that can host somewhere around 30 cars per showing. It’s about COVID-19 testing protocols, with actors sporting full PPE. Oh, and it ends with a modern-dance musical number.
So yeah, it’s about as Shia LaBeouf as Shia LaBeouf gets.
The play’s currently being staged in south Los Angeles, and is titled 5711 Avalon, because that’s the street address of the parking lot that hosts the show. Simple enough. THR reports that the show follows a mix of test takers and test administers. The theatre company, Slausen Rec Theater Company, conducted interviews with frontline workers and health volunteers to piece its narrative together. Video screen scattered around the lot do capture action that might be taking place away from one’s car, so you can keep up.
Shia LaBeouf helped form the Slausen Rec Theater Company with his Tax Collector co-star Bobby Soto in 2018. LaBeouf doesn’t appear in 5711 Avalon, but he helps direct what The Hollywood Reporter calls an “intimate” production. Senior staff writer Chris Gardner shared glimpses of the COVID testing show on social media, pointing out that one of the characters in a car waiting to get tested assumes a “Karen” role by refusing to wear a mask and even asking to speak to a manager on duty.
According to Gardner, the finale is a modern interpretive dance number that has members of the Slausen Rec troupe bathed in red flashers before they break and disperse to perform in and around the gathered cars. It looks something like this.
Are you in the area? Are you interested in checking this out? Apparently 5711 Avalon runs through November 1, though we wonder if an extension could be in place should the show draw increased interest.
This calls to mind some other noteworthy stunts Shia LaBeouf has pulled in public in the name of expressionism. My favorite remains the time that sat in a movie theater in 2015 to watch every movie he has ever appeared in. A close second has to be the time he stood in front of a green screen to give a motivational speech that birthed 1,000,000 memes on social media.
The bottom line is, you never know exactly what you are going to get from Shia LaBeouf, but it’s usually edgy and it often makes us think, and 5711 Avalon feels like it has that potential.