Dance with Alice in Berlin

Ruth Sergel

Ruth Sergel

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.

Roll up for a “One Night Stand in Wonderland” in Aurora, CO

One Night StandAttention 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.”

The performance is recommended for adults and children age 10 and older. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students. To make reservations, e-mail tickets@onenightstandtheater.org or phone 303-670-3628. More information is available at onenightstandtheater.org.

A Little Something Alice for the Weekend

Then She Fell

“Then She Fell”; photo by Adam Jason Photography

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.

Happy Friday to all.

Dame Judi Dench will play Alice Liddell Hargreaves!

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.”

From the Michael Grandage Company’s website:

“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

Phantomwise Play About Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll at FringeNYC2012 Festival

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.

Here’s one review.

And here’s the production’s web site.

Serenbe Playhouse finds Alice in Wonderland in the Chattahoochee Hills

Serenbe's "Alice in Wonderland"

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
Tickets: $10-15

 

Alice in the Department Store – German Wunderland “is a consumer hell.”

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.

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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.

[continue reading...]

Interesting that a major store was totally compliant to stage a full-scale critique of consumer capitalism? Their English press released is here. We also found this thirteen second YouTube promo:

Snark in the Park: Theater for children in New Orleans

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.

Outland in Scotland with Sylvie and Bruno

Belt Up Theatre's Outland

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.”

Written by 24-year-old British playwright Dominic Allen and performed by Belt Up Theatre, the play has been receiving pretty positive reviews, citing both beauty and confusion and episodes of pure panto-style audience participation.

Here’s how Allen described the play on Belt Up Theatre’s blog:

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.

Postcard from Provincetown

Nancy Willard sends Clare Imholtz  this piece of snail-mail correspondence as a ‘guest blog,’ a report of a local production of Alice in Wonderland witnessed in Provincetown, Mass.

August 6, 2011
I am writing from Cape Cod. Lewis Carroll is thriving here. Two productions of Alice are listed in the local newspaper, and yesterday I attended one of them, in Provincetown. When I told the director that I would be writing to the Lewis Carroll Society about it, he was ecstatic. Needless to say, the production was an adaptation, a wonderfully zany and lively affair, and I think the ingenuity the actors showed in staging “The Pool of Tears” and “The Garden of Live Flowers” in a small space would have amused Carroll. The director told me that the aim of their theater was to put on plays that would be greatly enjoyed by both adults and children.

The play, Alice in Wonderland (A Musical Curiosity), was performed by the Pee Wee Players of Provincetown. It was adapted by Matthew Lazure with additional songs by Ryan Landry, and directed by Marc Guerrette. The players were Matthew Lazure, Marc Guerrette, Megan Ludlow, Billy Hough, and James P. Byrne.

It runs weekend evenings at 5:30pm through September 4th, in the Vixen at the Pilgrim House, Provincetown, Mass. Thank you, Nancy!