The Johnny Cycle Part III - The Living by The Speakeasy Society

The Speakeasy Society draws from Johnny Got His Gun written by Dalton Trumbo.

Experienced: May 27, 2017
Location: Mountain View Mausoleum
Address: 2300 Marengo Ave., Altadena, CA
Price: $65.00
Audience Size: 20
Runtime: 120 minutes
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The Speakeasy Society

It is an anti-war story about a soldier who returns from war without his arms, legs, face, or the ability to speak.

With a heavy story about war, this immersive play took place at the Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena, on Memorial Day weekend. The Speakeasy Society did great job with setting up the mood they even produced a 25 minute audio piece to listen to on the way to the mausoleum. In addition to mentally preparing the audience for the story it also caught those of us up who missed the previous parts.

Just walking among the mausoleum there was air of sadness. As we moved from scene to scene, there was a chance to glance at the names on the tombs dating from the early 1800s, names with love ones half there and half still living, and names written waiting for an end date.

We weaved in and out of large shared group scenes, to smaller groups of ten, to even smaller groups of 1 or 2. As with all Speakeasy Society productions the acting was superb. Only later did I realize there were multiple paths. The path I followed at points had Johnny’s mother, the girlfriend he left behind, the author Trumbo, and a line of cots.

The expansive set, the mood, and direction was pure brilliance. I would have loved to see this play multiple times to go down every path.

My only hope is that Speakeasy Society remounts The Johnny Cycle. I missed parts 1 and 2 which happened years prior.

This is my favorite Speakeasy Society piece to date you can tell it was a labor of love. I prefer this longer format (over 2 hours long) to the Kansas Collection’s shorter (15 to 30 minute) pieces.