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.”
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
Alas, while our website was down due to an extremely malicious (and really, what was the point???) hacker malware attack, we missed alerting you to a production at the FringeNYC2012 play festival called Phantomwise. James, one of our blogmasters, remembers that this play was first produced for three performances by the Yale Dramat when playwright Oren Stevens was an undergraduate there.
If anyone saw the Fringe production, please do post a comment and let us know more about the piece and the production.
Rachel Teagle’s adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, now premiering at the Serenbe Playhouse, presents an unfamiliar Alice, “an introverted Alice, closed off from the world, her imagination, and most tragically, her ability to DREAM.” But can Alice be Alice if Alice cannot dream? Read Jim Farmer’s review from the Atlanta arts website ArtsATL, or go see the show and let us know what you conclude.
Serenbe Playhouse performs outdoors in the Serenbe community, a 1000-acre planned development 30 minutes from Atlanta that aspires to be “a national model for the future of balanced development in the U.S.” The theatre company participates fully in the vision of the community “modeling Green Theatre Practices by producing plays with a commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship.”
Alice in Wonderland
June 1 – July 28th (Fridays & Saturdays at 11am)
Serenbe Playhouse, The Forest Glen Stage (Near The Tree House), Serenbe, GE
Germany’s MS Schrittmacher just premiered an interesting “Alice im Wunderland,” which ran from March 28 thru April 7. The show was actually staged at Berlin’s Hermannplatz, a Karstadt department store. DerekScally of the Irish Times reviewed it in English, and he gives us a glimpse into what went down:
MS MS Schrittmacher's Alice im Wunderland, at Berlin's Hermannplatz
Here, Lewis Carroll’s 19th-century favourite has been given a postmodern, 21st-century makeover.
Alice is now a frazzled 40-something with lanky blonde-brown hair and her Wonderland is a consumer hell: Dante’s Inferno meets Are You Being Served?.
For the next 90 minutes, a small audience follows her through the department store during opening hours.
Regular customers stare, open-mouthed, at this unannounced undermining of capitalism and consumerism before their eyes – and this in one of Berlin’s largest shopping temples, with the full blessing of the Karstadt management.
Upstairs in the women’s department, the smoking Caterpillar is now a patronising sales assistant. Her advice to Alice, who is increasingly confused about who she is: in this consumer world your identity is your clothes size, you are the brand you buy.
As the scene plays out, a Karstadt customer, trapped in the adjacent changing room, tries to hide behind the curtain her mortification at becoming an unwitting extra in this capitalist critique.
Skin Horse Theater Presents: "The Hunting of the Snark" by Lewis Carroll
Fresh air and nonsense is available for all at the New Orleans Museum of Art for the next two Saturdays of this month. The Hunting of the Snark, adapted for children by Skin Horse Theater, is being performed in the Sculpture Garden on March 10 and March 17 at 3pm. Admission is free. These daytime performances will each be followed by an evening performance at the Backyard Ballroom, 3519 St. Claude Avenue, at 10 pm, with a $5 admission fee. Will these late night Snarks be equally child-friendly, we wonder? The Backyard Ballroom doesn’t have a website; to find out more about the performances call (504) 473-6819.
Founded at Bard College in 2008, Skin Horse Theater has a bit of history with Lewis Carroll: their inaugural performance was Curiouser: A Historical Inaccuracy, which entwined the lives of Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and Sylvia Plath.
How often do you hear the phrase “inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno“? If your answer is “not enough,” check out the reviews for Outland, a new play currently being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
UK national newspaper the Guardian described it as “a flight of fancy into parallel universes exploring the nature of creativity… spurred by the suggestion that the creator of Alice in Wonderland suffered from a form of epilepsy that made him see the world differently from the rest of us.”
What can audiences expect from Outland?
They can expect a lot of typical Carroll nonsense and characters; there’s a fair bit of Wonderland and his obsession with puzzling logic. However, you’ll also meet some new characters, if you’re not familiar with his more obscure work, and perhaps another much more profound, sentimental, philosophical side to him. The play has its surreal, absurd moments that you’d inevitably expect but it’s also touching, sweet and introvert.
Outland is running from August 3-29 at the C Soco venue in Edinburgh.