Malibu Seen: Geffen’s Virtual Glory

“The Future” premieres at the Geffen Playhouse.

So many times, so many memorable moments, but the Geffen has never attempted anything like this.

The Geffen Playhouse, created by Malibu entertainment mogul David Geffen, has announced its next slate of online productions. 

It’s called the Geffen Stayhouse series and, though its tiled walls and vintage fountain will be missed, the Stayhouse series offers plenty to see and enjoy. 

The playbill includes a follow-up to its popular ongoing series. It’s a magic show called “The Future.”

Another thing to check out while you are lingering at home is “Citizen Detective.” It’s an exciting murder-mystery in which audiences can help solve a real cold case from Hollywood! How exciting is that when you are social distancing on the couch?

There’s also “Bollywood Kitchen.” Here we find cookbook author and filmmaker Sri Rao guiding his followers in the making of a traditional Indian feast. At the same time, he shares stories of growing up in Pennsylvania with his immigrant parents. To add a little celluloid to the mix, he will also cook up some clips of his favorite Hollywood flicks. 

According to Geffen Artistic Director Matt Shakman, it’s all about a sense of community—that’s the key ingredient to Stayhouse productions.

“Each show needs to pull you into the experience. How do you get audiences to fully engage?” Shakman was quoted saying. “We want something that has a level of interactivity.”

The Geffen is playing it close to the vest about “The Future” written and performed by Helder Guimaraes, whose recent “The Present” was extended three times.

But the playhouse would say the audience could expect something more technically and narratively “ambitious.” It will also reveal that there is a type of choose-your-own-adventure element. 

As Guimaraes weaves a story through magic tricks and illusion, he’ll bring his viewers on a spectacular journey. This time it takes place in the south of France and revolves around a friendship he has with a professional betting man. The man who is sailing this theatrical ship is director Frank Marshall, who will send a box of mystery props to be used in the performance. There’s no question that the Geffen is pulling out everything in its rabbit’s hat to make theatergoing imaginative during these COVID-19 times. No one at the Geffen dreamed these shows would be such a hit, especially by trying to create the theater on Zoom with a mailed-to-you mystery package of props, but it worked. Theater people are so creative anyway, and now it really shows. Previews for “The Future” start early December with an opening night on Dec.11. Would you expect anything less from the stage? Encore!

Editor’s note: The story has been updated with a correct spelling of Helder Guimaraes’ name.