A New Theatrical Snark Sighting in Chicago

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!

And here’s a video teaser they’ve just released:

Boojum galumphs in Chicago

Caffeine Theatre and Chicago Opera Vanguard are staging Boojum! Nonsense, Truth and Lewis Carroll, from November 16th through December 19th, at the DCA Storefront Theater in Chicago. Described as “part existential musical theater and part fantasy adventure story,” it was created by Australian play-writing and composing team Martin Wesley-Smith and Peter Wesley-Smith (whose identical last names are either an extraordinary coincidence, or else not a coincidence at all.)

A few reviews are out: Chicago Now‘s Katy Walsh described it as a “nonsensical operetta that is all in its head,” and provided a nice description of the premise:

Reverend Charles Dodgson battles his Caffeine&Cov_Boojum!_02pseudonym over the origins of his most famous literary masterpiece. The reserved Charles and the flamboyant Lewis deconstruct their lookingglass fame. Who better to help in the rediscovery process than Alice? Both of them! The child and adult version of Carroll’s inspiration challenge him on the intense connection and de-connection of their relationship. As Charles sorts out his Alice issues, his imagination unleashes the makings for his farcical poem, “The Hunting of the Snark”. Quirky characters fill Charles’ head with a jumble of demands for attention. BOOJUM! Nonsense, Truth and Lewis Carroll is a stay-cation to a world of the unexpected. What a head-trip!

Tickets cost $15 – $25. The play is directed by Jimmy McDermott. The winners of the Old Father William’s Frabjous and Curious Poetry Contest will be performed by the actors at a Lewis Carroll Coffeehouse on November 29th.

Chicago's Caffeine Theatre announces Old Father William's Frabjous and Curious Poetry Contest

Caffeine Theatre and Chicago Opera Vanguard will be premiering Boojum! Nonsense, Truth, and Lewis Carroll on November 18th thru December 19th, 2010, at Chicago DCA’s Storefront Theater. (I understand the “Nonsense” and the “Lewis Carroll,” but will withhold judgment on the “Truth.”) Caffeine Theatre is hosting a nonsense poetry contest, the winners to be incorporated into the play! The guidelines, as posted by Emily Wong at Gapers Block:

Caffeine Theatre wants YOU — to send them your original poetry for their “Old Father William’s Frabjous and Curious Poetry Contest.” Just follow their rules:

  • Submissions may include any size or style of poem, as long as it is inspired in some way by the life or work of Lewis Carroll, or in some way speaks in conversation with that life or work.
  • Nonsense poems and poems exploring symbolic logic are especially encouraged.
  • Winners will be posted and podcast on Caffeine’s website, and performed at the Lewis Carroll Coffeehouse at the end of November.
  • Any new or previously written poem may be submitted (provided it can be republished/recorded/performed).

Submit your Lewis Carroll-inspired, nonsense poems by emailing the poems and a 3-5 sentence description of their relation to Lewis Carroll to the Caffeine Theatre Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Smith, at dan@caffeinetheatre.com. Make sure you have “Old Father William” in the subject heading! The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2010.

Meanwhile, while you’re waiting for Boojum!, Chicago’s Crown Point Community Theater is staging an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, opening this Friday, October 8th. “It’s a very playful adaptation,” said director Liz Love according to the Post-Tribune. “The other characters are all getting ready to perform ‘Alice in Wonderland’ but they have a problem. They have no Alice. But as luck would have it there just happens to be a girl named Alice and they help her find her way into the story.”

Alice of the House of Carroll

April 24 through May 30, Alice of the House of Carroll grabs you by the throat and kicks you down the rabbit hole into a wonderland filled with maniacs and thieves and where love melds with aggression. …the National Pastime Theater lifts Alice out of her comfortable place in children’s theater and thrusts her onto the city streets of late 19th century Chicago. Like our world today, Chicago at that time was a world that needed to rebuild. Alice, a pleasant little girl, pulses with an instability that is common to everyone and in particular, to a world, like ours, that seems to be disappearing down a rabbit hole. THIS SHOW IS NOT FOR CHILDREN OF ANY AGE.”