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.
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!
This Lewis Carroll-inspired theater installation seems interesting for its interactive aspects and impressive scope. It’s happening in different parks around Seattle during weekends in July and August: today at 4pm in Lake Meridian Park, Kent, WA; July 30th & 31st at 4pm, Bellevue Botanical Gardens, Bellevue, WA; and August 6th at 11:30 & 2:30, Les Gove Park, Auburn, WA. WONDERLAND: Alice Adventures is part of 4Culture’s Site Specific Performance Network. Here’s the blurb from Theater Simple:
A free theatrical park escapade, WONDERLAND is inspired by and adapted from Charles Dodgson’s (Lewis Carroll) Alice stories, as well as Dodgson’s wordplay, math games and puzzles.
An all-ages adventures, theater and visual arts weave whimsically together within a parkland, playing with the creative perspectives of imaginations.
THE GOAL: To look at ideas of PERSPECTIVE, CREATIVITY and PLAY – and have some serious fun.
Who can play? EVERYONE.
FOLLOW White Rabbits!
SEE the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle on the Locks! Dance the Lobster Quadrille!
HEAR the Tweedle twins recite the Walrus and The Carpenter
PLAY GIANT tic tac toe with the White Queen or croquet with the King and Queen of Hearts!
EXPLORE a tiny house and a giant flower garden!
FIND all the riddles and puns stashed around the park!
DRAW what you see, and see what you draw!
And of course, listen to the timeless words of the story, and puzzle your way through the event on your own.
And here’s a nice slideshow of images from the 2010 debut of the project in Seattle’s Botanical Gardens:
The play actually seems very intriguing, maybe it just wasn’t that reviewer’s clean cup of tea. The Trial of the Mariner is “an interactive, multimedia performance looking at the future of our oceans” inspired by both The Hunting of the Snark and S.T. Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” “The year is 2111, and a group of desperate sailors embark on a voyage on the Ship of Fools. Lost at sea and mad with cabin fever, they arrive at the Plastic Continent of the Pacific Ocean Gyre, where the unhinged Mariner’s adventures come to life.” There’s still three more performances, closing on the 21st.
Edward Staudenmayer (Rabbit) in Wonderland: A New Musical
Wonderland: A New Musical (formerly known as Wonderland: A New Musical Adventure) started previews today, March 21st, at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway. It stars Janet Dacal, who created the role of the “modern-day Manhattan mom named Alice” in Tampa Bay, alongside former Miss America Kate Shindle as Mad Hatter. It will open officially April 17th, assuming multiple actors don’t break bones and it gets pushed back six months.
However, there’s some other Broadway buzz which might cast a bandersnatchian shadow over the proceedings. Disney, whose Broadway franchises include the hugely successful Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, has announced they will turn their Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland, the sixth highest grossing film of all time, into a Broadway Musical. And Tim Burton himself has agreed to help with the design. Linda Woolverton, who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well as the screenplay for The Lion King and the scripts for Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast and Aida, will be writing the script for this also.
If Wonderland: A New Musicalis a long-running hit (as composer Frank Wildhorn’s previous shows Jekyll & Hyde and The Scarlet Pimpernel have both been), could there be dueling Wonderlands on Broadway!?
Meanwhile, here’s a “sneak peek” of the new Wonderland: A New Musical, if you can’t afford the $49-$132 ticket price.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has just finished their premiere run of a new “Wonderland” choreographed by Shawn Hounsell at Winnipeg’s Centennial Concert Hall. It was there till March 13th, but it will now begin a worldwide tour of Canada, ending at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, April 28th to 30th. Paula Citron’s dance review in The Globe and Mail has a nice headline: The story wanders, but ‘Wonderland’ looks wonderful. Was she expecting a linear plot in a ballet adaption of Lewis Carroll? Here’s Citron’s critique:
…The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s new production of Wonderland, however, is both ambitious and flawed – the work is a technical triumph, but it falters in content. Montreal-based choreographer Shawn Hounsell has approached Alice from two sides. On one, the book’s favourite characters are given their rightful place on the stage, which provides both whimsy and humour. (There are also a couple of surprise cameo appearances.)
On the darker side, Hounsell has made Alice (Jacelyn Lobay) an older woman who is looking back through the rabbit hole at her dreamlike journey. That fantasy allows her to escape the mundane, but at the end of a second visit comes the reality check: Alice, and humankind in general, cannot escape into fantasy forever.
Hounsell’s problem is that, while he has fashioned Carroll’s famous characters with some skill, he has not really been able to portray the more serious parts of his vision. There is rather a disjointed quality to the choreography, and the voiceover text, while helpful, does not completely fill in the gaps. [Continue reading here.]
I wonder if adapters will ever tire of the older-Alices-returning motif, or if it’s chronically perennial? Here’s a little more of her review:
Beloved ballerina Tara Birtwhistle, looking like a 1980s Lady Gaga [What? -Ed.] with platinum hair, bright red bell bottoms and an Elizabethan collar, is a harridan of a Queen of Hearts. Using her megaphone, she shouts a stream of insults and orders, and of course her trademark “Off with their heads!” In my favourite line, she chastises the orchestra for playing too many notes.
There’s some more glowing review quotes from the RWB’s blog here.
The Belgian Pop trio K3 will be starring in “Alice in Wonderland le Musical” in Antwerp, April 9th through 25th, 2011. I can’t embed the promo videos, but I highly recommend them – link here.
K3 appear to all be playing Alice, but in three different colors. Here’s a google-translated description (from the Dutch) of the show:
Karen, Kristel and Josje bored and the three of us going to the movies. Once at the cinema arrived, they end up in the story of Alice in Wonderland. They decide to go Alice warn all that lies ahead, but they are all too late. Their search for Alice is full of surprises and nothing is what it seems. [...]
‘Alice in Wonderland’ takes you on a magical adventure in a magical world of fantasy. Are you going to Karen, Kristel and Josje last?
3D World first:
In the musical “Alice in Wonderland ‘for the first time in a musical world use 3D sceneries. The same technique is used to show 3D movies in the cinema.
Visitors of the musical will get a pair of glasses for the 3D effects to be observed. The public has the ultimate experience to sit in the middle of the story and together with K3 to adventure in the wonderland of Alice in Wonderland.
The musical promises to be a unique total experience with a live orchestra, spectacular 3D scenery and breathtaking costumes.
The story of the musical is based on the famous, written by Lewis Caroll, story ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland “(1865) and its sequel” Behind the Looking Glass and what Alice found there “(1871).
I thought live theater was in 3D already?
UPDATE: Thank you Europopped for e-mailing us that K3 has already released an Alice-themed video this year!
Alice in Wonderland at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin
A stage adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is currently running at The Freedom Theater in the city of Jenin on the Northern West Bank of the Palestinian Territories.
The show is being co-directed by Isreali Palestinian actor, director, and activist Juliano Mer-Khamis and by Zoe Lafferty, a 24-year old director from London. Reviews and interviews on the websites of Al Arabiya and The Guardian say that the technically dazzling show is being performed to sell-out audiences.
Interestingly, although the connection is not made, the plot described seems to follow Tim Burton’s adaptation: Alice discovers Wonderland while fleeing a forced engagement, and returns home newly empowered to make her own choices. Excerpts featured in the YouTube trailer (to the soundtrack of Blondie’s “One Way or Another”) suggest the production owes a debt to an even more unlikely source – The Rocky Horror Picture Show.