Thanks to Lambert Liu for responding to my plea for blog items from all you Mimsy Minions! He found a flyer for a ballet performance at his local Huntington, Long Island, NY bookstore:
“Long Island Ballet Theatre presents an original ballet adventure choreographed by former NYC Ballet dancer & world acclaimed by choreographer Christopher Fleming.
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole as she meets the weird & wonderful characters of “Wonderland” – tea with the Mad Hatter, treacherous croquet with the Queen of Hearts and a White Rabbit that leads her all the way!”
The ballet will be performed on June 1st. For more information, click here.
Keep those Carrollian items coming, Minions! Our need, like your curiosity, is inexhaustible.
Playwright (Red) and screenwriter (Skyfall, Hugo, Sweeney Todd, etc.) John Logan has written a new play inspired by the fact that in 1932, Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies, the inspiration for Peter Pan, at the Bumpus bookshop in London as part of a centenary tribute to Carroll. Logan wondered what the two immortal inspirations might have said to each other. Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw play the leads; it is directed by Michael Grandage and currently playing at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. More information can be found on LCSNA member Cathy Rubin’s blog by clicking here.
At our recent Winston-Salem meeting, we heard briefly from Ms. Amber Adams, a choreographer and dancer hoping to raise funds to finance a physical theatre program based on “Alice in Wonderland” in Wilmington, NC. As always, we make no comment or endorsement of anything we post per se; we just like to keep you informed!
Apologies that we haven’t made a new post in a while. We have been off hunting Snarks–unsuccessfully, which may be just as well. Today, as Fate would have it, we received this very civilized note:
Dear Lewis Carroll Society
My name is Josh Sobel and I am Literary Manager for Chicago’s Strawdog Theatre Company. I hope this email finds you well! I noticed that you had posted information about the last time a Chicago theatre company had adapted Carroll for the stage, with the opera BOOJUM!
As it turns out, the Snark has found its way to Chicago once again – I am directing an environmental, ensemble-based adaptation of the poem THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK with Strawdog, taking place in our Hugen Hall space (essentially our pub) and utilizing the actual text of the poem itself in inventive and unexpected ways.
We have gathered 12 brilliant Chicago actors and have been working to bring the story to life in a minimalist, highly imaginative style, an almost pub-theatre approach engaging directly with the audience to open up their imaginations to the magic of this journey.
Thank you very much for your time! All the best, Josh Sobel
Their enclosed press release includes the following details:
Performances: May 6 – May 28 at Strawdog Theatre Hugen Hall, 3829 North Broadway Street. The performance schedule is Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m.; May 20 and 21 performances are at 9 p.m. Opening/Press Night is Monday, May 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Tickets may be ordered online at strawdog.org or by calling OvationTix toll-free: 866-811-4111.
Based on the classic Lewis Carroll poem, The Hunting Of The Snark, is a family friendly show inviting its guests to come aboard for a tall tale of mischief and mayhem, of high sea hijinks and impossible voyages, of an improbable crew and an extraordinary task, of an inconceivable creature in a peculiar land, and of the unquenchable thirst for adventure. A design and ensemble-based piece mixing theatrical influences from Chicago and around theworld; Strawdog stretches, flexes, trips over a ladder and treats the audience to a hilarious and touching take on one of the world’s best loved poems.
If you attend this production, please email us a 1-2 paragraph write-up that we can share on this blog!
Imagine the scene in the gallery: on a giant screen, you watch Alice leap off a book and lead you into Wonderland. Slowly you realize that the animation you are watching is somehow watching you—and copying your every move. As the artist, Ruth Sergel, describes it: “In front of the looking glass, fantasy and reality merge as Alice fluidly mirrors the viewer’s every move.” The interactive work is currently being exhibited at Multimedier Schlachthof in Berlin, Germany.
Ruth Sergel is an American artist, activist, and “interactive technology designer” whose film and performance work has appeared at MOMA in New York, and in galleries around Europe. More information about “Alice in Berlin” can be found on Sergel’s website, Street Pictures, where there is also a video showing visitors interacting with Alice.
Attention all Colorado Carrollians: One Night Stand Theater will be presenting “One Night Stand in Wonderland,” an evening of theatrical readings and plays about Lewis Carroll and his creations, on Sunday, April 7, 7:00 p.m. at the Vintage Theatre, in Old Downtown Aurora.
The performance features stories and nonsense poetry from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass,” as well as short plays and adaptations inspired by Alice in Wonderland by local playwrights Bill Thompson and Dave Brandl.
“Our goal for the evening is to travel through the humorous, twisted logic of the two Alice books and make stops along the way with the interesting characters she encounters,” says One Night Stand Theater artistic director James O’Leary. “In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll created a multi-faceted world, and we hope to explore some of the many layers of that world and allow the characters to come to life through the talents of our actors.”
Lewis Carroll came from a large family, and got his start in children’s entertainment and storytelling by writing for and staging plays with his siblings. One surviving example is the puppet play La Guida di Bragia, dating from the early 1850′s. The LCSNA published the text in 2007 with illustrations by Jonathan Dixon - available here for $25. Dixon also spoke at the LCSNA’s Spring 2009 meetingin Santa Fe, followed by a marionette performance staged by Theaterwork’s artistic director David Olson. Good Times! “Together with LCSNA’s multi-talented Jonathan Dixon, Olson talked about the marionette play we would see in the evening: how children’s dolls, rescued from the local Goodwill store, were turned into doll puppets representing the characters of Mooney, Spooney, Sophonisba, and her husband Orlando.” Here’s a photo:
Image from the Table of Contents for the Summer 2012 Art Doll Quarterly
This year, more American puppeteers have tackled La Guida di Bragia. Diane Lewis, who works at the Theatre Arts Department at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, collaborated with her students to create marionettes for the play, and they have been featured in the Summer 2012 edition of Art Doll Quarterly. The article “Characters Behind the Curtain: Instructor Offers History along with the Magic of the Puppet,” by Mozelle Sukut, included “several large illustrations, and descriptions of Lewis’ techniques, philosophy, research, teaching methods, etc.” (reports Mark Richards of the UK Lewis Carroll Society.) The show was never produced, but the marionettes are very charming.
Mrs. Muddles from La Guida di Bragia, from the website of Monique Rea, mfrartwork.com
A photo of the marionettes from La Guida di Bragia, on display at Mission Viejo’s Arts ALIVE Festival
Aleksandar Antonijevic of the National Ballet of Canada
The National Ballet of Canada is on the move and they are taking Alice with them. Last weekend the company appeared at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles to perform Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and scored by Joby Talbot. Ecstatic reviews suggest that the production was every bit as successful as the much-lauded North American premiere in Toronto in 2011 and it’s world premier in London earlier in the same year. North Americans will have another chance to see the ballet when it moves to the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. for performances from January 18 – 27, 2013.
Three thousand miles to the north west, the Connecticut Ballet recently performed an Alice in Wonderland aimed more squarely at children. The show, which included spoken narration by artistic director Brett Raphael, was performed once in Stamford and once in Harvard. The Harvard production, held at the Aetna Theater, part of the Wadsworth Atheneum, was just one in a series of ballets for families; Barbar the Elephant & Jungle Tales and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will follow early next year.
The Cincinnati Ballet present Septime Webre’s ALICE
Meanwhile the Cincinnati Ballet has had the great good fortune to present the regional premiere of Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland) from October 26 to 28. Matthew Pierce’s score was performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. After a quick trip to the dry-cleaners, Liz Vandal’s outrageous costumes should now be on a plane heading south as Webre’s creation will next be performed by Ballet Hawaii in August 2013.
If you feel your day would benefit from a touch of ballet this very minute, check out the video below – it is an excerpt from the London premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, performed at Covent Garden. You know you are in Wonderland when a ballerina gets to eat jam tarts on stage.
If you are wondering what you could do this weekend that might bring a little more Wonderland into your life, permit us to offer the following suggestions:
If you live in New York, you could try to get last minute tickets to Then She Fell, a creepy trip down the rabbit hole staged in an abandoned hospital and described by the New York Post as “a fiendishly clever immersive theater piece.” If the show is all sold out, you could console yourself by booking tickets to AliceGraceAnon at the Irondale Center between October 21 and November 9. The play depicts an emotional collision between three girls: Carroll’s fictional Alice, the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, and the anonymous narrator of Go Ask Alice, the diary of drug taking that caused sensation in 1971. Reviewers say it is seriously trippy…
If you live in Seattle, you could try and gate-crash the 110th Annual Conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association at Seattle University to see Amanda Lastoria of Simon Fraser University deliver a paper called “Selling Wonderland: How Lewis Carroll Built his Alice Empire.” In her paper Amanda will advance her thesis that Lewis Carroll was a publishing dynamo whose considerable business savvy has been little recognized.
If you live in Manchester, England, you could see Gaynor Arnold speaking at the Manchester Literary Festival about her new book After Such Kindness, a fictionalized account of the relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell. The event will be held at the Portico Library on Saturday at 6.30 p.m.
And if you live anywhere else, well, isn’t it time you started planning your Alice-themed Halloween costume? A good source of ideas might be this this photo slide show of recent and not-so recent big-budget, Alice-themed events. The slide show reveals both what a strange assortment of organizations decide on an Alice in Wonderland theme for their event (OfficeMax is one) and that the Canadian Cancer Society knows how to throw a good party.
Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench (also known as Queen Elizabeth I and ‘Q’ from the next James Bond movie). What might they have talked about?
Yes, our website is salvaged from savage pirates, and we have a lot of news to catch up on. Speaking of pirates… Peter Pan! (Sorry, that was a horrible transition. We’re a little rusty.) John Logan has written a play about Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the muse for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland) and Peter Llewelyn Davies (the Peter who inspired J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan). It’s called Peter and Alice. What might they have said to one another when they were older? We’ll find out in March 2013 on the London stage, where the roles will be played by Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw. The playwright won an Academy Award for writing the movie Gladiator, so hopefully Alice and Peter will fight lions! Or, have tea and discuss“questions about how people cope with being hurled into the public eye as children.”
“Of course that’s how it begins: a harmless fairy tale to pass the hours”
When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.
Judi Dench plays Alice and Ben Whishaw plays Peter in Logan’s first new play since Red, which went on to win six Tony Awards in 2010.
Director Michael Grandage Set and Costume Designer Christopher Oram Lighting Designer Paule Constable Composer and Sound Designer Adam Cork