Yes, The Show Must Go On, Despite Power Failure

Lighting the stage by candle
Photo courtesy of Martha Hunter

By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter

A Theatre Palisades production was almost left in the dark after a near-ruinous power outage swept through Pacific Palisades on Saturday, July 8.

The incident occurred only five minutes into Pierson Playhouse’s closing weekend showing of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and lasted well into the second act.

True improvisers, the cast and crew powered through the performance by way of flashlights, flameless candles and a little assistance from the audience.

“Instead of leaving, those in attendance pulled out their iPhones and helped light the way,” Co-Producer Martha Hunter told the Palisadian-Post. “The actors didn’t drop a beat, but they did use a little humor to work in a few playful lines about the outage.”

Saturday night’s blackout was part of a widespread Los Angeles Department of Water and Power outage that occurred after an explosion disabled the utility’s receiving station in Northridge

LADWP shut off power to the Palisades, along with residents in Northridge, Winnetka, Reseda, Lake Balboa, Tarzana, North Hills, Granada Hills, Chatsworth, West Hills, Canoga Park and Woodland Hills, as a precautionary move after a dangerous fire involving equipment that carries high-voltage electricity broke out at approximately 6:52 p.m.

A spokesperson for LADWP said that LA County fire crews had controlled the flames by 8:30 p.m. and were able to fully extinguish the fire by 9 p.m.

Here in the Palisades, the community-wide outage left neighborhoods dim and streetlights on Sunset Boulevard temporarily inactive for nearly an hour.

An estimated 11,250 Palisadians were without electricity or air conditioning as the city moved through another record-breaking heatwave.

Around 10 p.m. the lights were restored and met with neighborhood cheers.

Back at the Pierson Playhouse, actress Mia Christou’s character, Masha, was in the middle of a comical scene where she silences her castmates so that she can re-focus her energy and fix her aurora.

“The lights couldn’t have come back on at a more perfect time,” Hunter told the Post. “It will certainly be a night to remember––not only for the cast and audience, but for the production crew who went scrambling around looking for flashlights and candles.”