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!
Mahendra Singh’s illustration of “The Baker’s Tale,” from his graphic novelization of The Hunting of the Snark. “‘But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day, / In a moment (of this I am sure), / I shall softly and suddenly vanish away — / And the notion I cannot endure!’”
The Lavinia Whateley was a Boojum, a deep-space swimmer, but her kind had evolved in the high tempestuous envelopes of gas giants, and their offspring still spent their infancies there, in cloud-nurseries over eternal storms. And so she was streamlined, something like a vast spiny lionfish to the earth-adapted eye. Her sides were lined with gasbags filled with hydrogen; her vanes and wings furled tight. Her color was a blue-green so dark it seemed a glossy black unless the light struck it; her hide was impregnated with symbiotic algae.
Illustration from Lightspeed Magazine for the story “Boojum”
That’s the definition of a Boojum from the short story “Boojum,” by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear, printed in the September 2012 issue of Lightspeed, a magazine of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fiction. There’s also a character named Black Alice. The story is online here, and ebooks of Lightspeed can be bought here or on Amazon here ($3.99).
Erin Stocks has an interviewwith the authors, and the first question is about the Carrollian title:
September 2012 issue of Lightsaber
Your short story “Boojum” happens to be one of my favorite science fiction stories written in the last few years, and I’m delighted we’re reprinting it in this issue. Some of our readers might recognize a “Boojum” as a dangerous kind of snark, a fictional animal species invented by Lewis Carroll, or maybe the intercontinental supersonic cruise missile dreamed up in the 1940s (and never completed) for the U.S. Air Force. Was the creation of the Lavinia Whateley influenced by either one of those?
We got the word from Lewis Carroll. The second story set in this universe, “Mongoose,” features monsters called toves, raths, and bandersnatches.
(Sarah: I don’t remember how we thought of crossing Lewis Carroll and H. P. Lovecraft, but since “The Hunting of the Snark” is one of my favorite poems, in retrospect it seems utterly inevitable. Bear: True story: Sarah and I once drove around Madison after a rainstorm looking at an enormous triple rainbow and reciting “The Jabberwock” to one another from memory. The intersection of Lovecraft, Carroll, whimsy, and horror seems inevitable once you’ve hit upon it.)
Lewis Carroll made a few cameos on television this summer.
BBC’s Inspector Lewis, on Masterpiece Mystery (also on PBS in America), had an episode in Season V called “The Soul of Genius.” The dead body in this whodunit was a professor obsessed with The Hunting of the Snark, and of course the Inspector has to delve into the poem to search for clues, i.e. a “legendary riddle hidden in Carroll’s philosophical story of an impossible quest for the unknowable.” Oxford’s Botanical Gardens are also visited. Here’s the trailer from the PBS website:
I’m not sure when PBS reruns it, but it is already available on DVD at Amazon.com, where it received mostly five-star costumer reviews, and is already available on Netflix(Season 5, Disc 1.)
Over on basic cable, Syfy’s Warehouse 13 had a creepy mystery involving Lewis Carroll’s mirror, which aired August 27. The trailershows the protagonist finding the Looking-Glass in the warehouse, and accidentally unleashing an EVIL SPIRIT from the other side, namely the “murderous” ghost of Alice Liddell.
Syfy’s websitehad further description of the plot:
Evil dead Alice Liddell, in the Warehouse 13 episode “Fractures.”
[...] Almost immediately, a ping comes in that a young woman has transformed from her meek self to a salacious thug. By the time Pete and Myka realize that Alice Lidell escaped from Lewis Carroll’s mirror – and the mirror somehow got out of the Dark Vault – they realize that she’s also able to jump from body to body using a shard of the broken mirror. [...] Artie narrowly escapes the attack from a waitress, possessed by Alice, but once outside, he and Vanessa confer with Pete and Myka. Artie won’t explain how he knows, but says that Alice is there to kill him. They call back to the Warehouse and direct Jinks and Claudia to find a trapping artifact – a hookah that appeared in “Through the Looking-Glass” [sic]- so they can re-contain Alice.
Even if you missed the first-run on TV, this episode “Fractures” can be watched online in HD on AmazonInstant Video, for $2.99.
[Department of Portmanteaus] Today we give an honorable mention to the Brooklyn-based design studio Snarkitecture, recently featured in the Home & Garden section of the New York Times online. The studio, headed by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham, creates sculptures and installations intended to unsettle: “Searching for sites within architecture with the possibility for confusion or misuse, Snarkitecture aims to make architecture perform the unexpected.” An exhibition of “funiture” — furniture that counts furnishing least among its aspirations, is currently on display at the Volume Gallery in Chicago.
For years, our Facebook presence has been limited to a Group. The ribbon is now cut for the Lewis Carroll Society of North America’s new Facebook Page. If you’re a Facebook neophyte, all you have to do is click the “like” button. Links to this blog, information about Society events, and other trivialities will then occasionally but unobtrusively appear in your Newsfeed. The image we’ve chosen for our first Cover photo is from Mahendra Singh’s graphic novel version of The Hunting of the Snark (2010). Singh’s blog (with many more illustrations) is here. The LCSNA’s Twitter feed is here. A video of a snoring dormouse is here.
The Bellman from the The Hunting of the Snark (2012)
The stop motion animated version of The Hunting of the Snark, long in the works and coming out June 2012, has finally released a trailer. We learn several new things about the movie, including that there is a female character named Hope (as in “They pursued it with forks and Hope.”) Also, Severus Snape makes a cameo at 41 seconds into the trailer.
The image of the Bellman figure above was taken from the movie’s Facebook page, which has many pictures from the creation of the animation.
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.
Screen Shot of Level 6 from The Hunting of the Snark kids game from Hairy Games
This free kids’ game was added last week at the so-called bestonlinekidsgames.com. We were hoping for an action-packed hunting game on open oceans and strange islands or a shoot-em-up video game in the style of Deer Hunter. (Actually, when you think about it, The Hunting of the Snark has many scenarios that would translate excellently into a video game. Anyone care to join the Beaver hunting the Jubjub in an increasingly narrow valley?) However, this game from Hairy Games seems to be mostly a fork poking at pictures of Snark characters and getting its prongs bent. “The Hunting of the Snark is combination of mazes, jigsaw and hidden objects puzzles games. This game is crated [sic] of famous story of mysterious creature, Snark who lived in a lonely island and the quest of some brave explorers to find it, by Lewis Caroll [sic sic sic].” The game was designed by Long Leaf’s Friends, and the pretty cool art is by B. Rybacki.
Naxos has released composer Maurice Saylor’s “magnum opus” The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits, on CD and where all fine digital music files can be downloaded. You can hear the excellent Cantate Singers toss lines from Carroll’s poem around in a choral whirlwind, accompanied by Saylor’s Snark Pit-Band. The other tracks on the album, music Saylor wrote for silent films and played by The Snark Ensemble, are also really fun. Listen to excerpts ofAmazon’s mp3s (individual tracks for $0.89, or the whole album for $11.68), or buy from iTunes here. The Snark Ensemble pictured below, Maurice Saylor second from right:
There’s a new hidden object game proving popular in all the usual online fora. It’s called… The Hunting of the Snark. The story is a little adapted – obviously – and the party encounter two monsters who may or may not be Snarks. It’s a little confusing but the illustrations and sound effects are pleasantly weird and the whole thing takes about fifteen minutes to play.
The team that made it is called Long Leaf’s Friends and the main designer is a Polish illustrator called Navatika. From her resume: “My name is Navatika. Navatika is a paint-brush containing ninety hair. It contains ninety different points of view and ways of depicting the world, which can be distinguished and appreciated by experienced eye.”