This Show at an Abandoned Speakeasy is Coming Straight Outta Scotland

It’s a long way from the Firth of Forth to downtown Santa Ana, but that’s not stopping the National Theatre of Scotland from including the city on part of its world-traversing barnstorming tour.
The theater troupe, which launched in 2006 and has created over 200 productions—all of them without the benefit of having its own space—will mount David Grieg’s The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, at the Empire Building for four nights, beginning tonight (Wednesday).

The show will be produced in conjunction with Santa Ana Sites, a community partnership founded by Allen Moon and John D. Spiak, the director and chief curator at the Grand Central Art Center, located right across the street. SAS presents performance in public and private spaces throughout downtown Santa Ana.

The Empire Building is no stranger to theater, as Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company called it home for some 12 years until 2009. The space had been set to open as a speakeasy-ish bar, but those plans fell through, but the still-vacant space will take advantage of some of that aborted build-out. A bookshelf doubling as a secret doorway is the official entrance, then a short walk through the former RGTC lobby leads you to theater, where pints from the C4 Deli will be available, as well as a small glass (they call it a wee dram in some parts) of Benromach whiskey.

Once inside and properly libated, you’ll hear of the strange tale of Prudencia Hart, a stuffy academic who embarks on a trip to attend a conference, but encounters all kinds of bizarre things on her journey of self-discovery. The show features live music, including fiddles, banjos and them ol’ Irish tin whistles and, according to the British papers linked on the company’s webpage,, it’s “rambunctiously life-affirming and touchingly beautiful,” “vibrantly alive,” and “a show that deserves to tour for eternity.”

But what do we know? We just regurgitate stuff we find on the Interwebz! (At press-time, no one involved with the show had gotten back to us, so we sent our busy beaver band of intrepid researchers loose to find as much info about the show as possible; they’ll update this incredible bit of digital prose as more info becomes ready).

Prudencia from Allen Moon on Vimeo.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart takes place at Empire Theatre, 200 N. Broadway Ave, Santa Ana,. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m. $20.

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