The Vault: Talking With Fidel Gomez

by Tony Bartolone

Staff Writer

pLAywriting in the city

The Vault is a rebellious, genre-bending theatrical and musical performance-art ensemble. Continually inspired by local LA and global real-life happenings, this multi-cultural and interdisciplinary ensemble creates an unpredictably fast-paced experience where no issue is taboo, except for our mothers.”

This Thursday we will celebrate the two-year anniversary of The Vault at 9pm. at The Los Angeles Theatre Center. I talked with co-founder of The Vault, Fidel Gomez.

Why don’t we start off with you telling us a little history of The Vault? Well the History of our group goes back two years. We created the group based on what we perceived to be a “Need” for local artists within our peer group to have an opportunity to “work”. Not in the industry sense of getting paid, but rather an opportunity to work on our craft as artists and give ourselves an opportunity to say what we want about the world.

Many of our early work was based on things we pulled from the News, Internet and local anecdotes as well as personal ones. We wanted to look at the world around us and reflect on what it says about us as a culture. Almost every one of our pieces has a real world experience or happening that sparks its inception. In Thursdays show we tackle issues like: The housing crisis, unemployment, tamale ladies, bad rappers, “the narco crisis” in Mexico, The 405 Freeway closing, hostess clubs, and nudism. All of which started as ideas from media and newspaper stories.

The Vault is Brenda Banda, Stephen Buchanan, Aaron Garcia, Fidel Gomez, Sam Golzari, Ted Lange IV, Jasmine Orpilla, and Vicki Syal.

The original idea of the structure came from Jose Luis Valenzuela, who is the artistic director of the Los Angeles Theatre Center. He told us that in the 80’s they used to do a cabaret there on Friday nights called The Newspaper Cabaret in which they used headlines from local papers to create a weekly show. We decided to perform on Thursdays instead of Fridays so that we could utilize “Art Walk” as a way to promote the shows. (And Thursday in LA is like the new Friday anyway.)

What do you think your show brings to Los Angeles? What I think the show brings to LA, specifically, is an opportunity to see work that is created solely for the purpose of provoking thought as well as making you laugh your ass off. If I had to sum up the essence of The Vault it’s: “Highbrow/Lowbrow” We deal with big ideas, and we make fun of ourselves while we do it. There is always an element of us being accomplices in these absurdities and tragedies of society. It’s not like “Oh look how ridiculous EVERYBODY ELSE IS.” It’s more like “Look how ridiculous we ALL are.”

What do you think about Los Angeles theatre, in general? LA Theater in general to me is hard to speak about. There are the general ideas that it’s all a big showcase to get into TV and movies. I personally find myself not seeing enough. And sadly I think many people don’t see enough of the other artists in their community. Mainly because this area is so expanse that getting over to see all the shows this city has to offer is near impossible. But I feel that there might be some hidden gems out there. I feel that people are willing to sacrifice a bit of production value for more thought provoking and edgy material.

What do you see in the future for the show? The future of the group to me is wide open. I think ultimately we would like an opportunity to reach a broader audience. Whether that be by touring or even exploring other forms of media. But what I hope is that somehow we are able to maintain our aesthetic and desire to talk about gritty shit. To me, The Vault is about challenging others and ourselves. To look at the world and speak truthfully about what we see. And at the same time, clown on ourselves for being so arrogant to assume that we could.

See the show Thursday, January 12 at 9pm at LATC. Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90013. For information, call (213)-489-0994 or visit their website at