Alice vs. Wonderland Press Release

For Immediate Release August 11, 2010
Contact: Kati Mitchell 617-495-2668
kati_mitchell@harvard.edu

The A.R.T. /MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training
in association with the Loeb Drama Center presents
ALICE vs. WONDERLAND
based on the stories of Lewis Carroll
remixed by Brendan Shea
directed by János Szász
featuring the A.R.T. Institute Class of 2011
Loeb Drama Center
September 18 — October 9

 

WHAT: The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) continues its 2010/11 Season with the A.R.T./MXAT Institute’s production of ALICE vs. WONDERLAND, based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, remixed by Brendan Shea and directed by János Szász.  Set design is by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by David Israel Reynoso, lighting design by Maruti Evans, and sound design by Clive Goodwin. The production features the A.R.T. Institute Class of 2011.


WHEN: September 18 — October 9, 2010
Saturdays only at 2:00pm and 7:30pm  


WHERE: Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge


TICKETS: All seats $15. Single tickets go on sale to A.R.T. Members on August 10 and to the general public on August 17.  Tickets can be purchased on line at http://www.AmericanRepertoryTheater.org, by phone at 617-547-8300, or in person at the A.R.T. Box Office, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
For more information on Memberships go to http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/membership


DETAILS:
This fantastical update of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass seamlessly blends the lyrical whimsy of Alice with pop culture, high-octane physical theater, and the dynamic vision of acclaimed Hungarian director János Szász.  The result is a fresh, funny, and emotional remix of Carroll's classic coming-of-age tale.  Alice vs. Wonderland was presented this spring at the Your Chance International Festival in Moscow to great acclaim and sold-out houses.

 

Adapter Brendan Shea explains his work: “The Alice of my generation is older than Lewis Carroll’s— she’s a teenager, facing the terrors of adulthood. A teenage Alice today dreams differently than Carroll’s seven-year-old Victorian girl; her Wonderland needed remixing. In my version, it’s Lewis Carroll meets Lady Gaga — the basic structure of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland remains, through the series of encounters between Alice and a gallery of Wonderland oddballs. Carroll punctuates each episode with a poem, a satirical revision of a Victorian nursery rhyme; the poems mock popular verses that nannies used to teach morals. But Carroll’s satire would fall flat with a modern audience; we don’t recognize his send-up of Victorian hypocrisy. But juxtaposing Alice with pop culture speaks the modern lingo. From the book, the Disney cartoon, or the Burton film we have a notion of who Alice is; we also have an inherent association with pop culture — today’s nursery rhymes are not transmitted by nanny but by TV, radio, or Youtube. The collision between pop culture and these canonical storybook characters will spark the same smile of pleasure as Carroll’s mash-up of pious nursery rhymes. This is why I call Alice vs. Wonderland not an adaptation, but a remix.”

 

Longtime A.R.T. collaborator, director János Szász brings his distinct style to Alice vs. Wonderland, remixing the remix. His production of The Seagull epitomizes the Szász aesthetic: raw, dark, brooding, and extremely physical. Szász found the nightmare in Alice’s teen-angel dream; the production holds nightmare and dream in anxious balance so Alice journeys to adulthood along a razor’s edge. “I want to create theater that makes the spectators use their hearts, brains, and nerves” said Szasz. “I want to see how the actors react to their characters and I want the audience members to witness everything the actors are feeling. I’m always trying to break down the barriers between the audience and the playing space.


ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM:

Brendan Shea is the A.R.T.'s Dramaturgy/Artistic Fellow and a 2010 graduate of the A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training. He previously collaborated with János Szász as Assistant Director on Szász’s production of The Seagull, and was Dramaturg of last season’s production of Johnny Baseball.  At the A.R.T. Institute he was the Dramaturg for The Skin of Our Teeth and Aloha Say the Pretty Girls. Mr. Shea recently collaborated with local rocker Jahn Sood on the premiere of a new folk opera, The Disappearing Man & Other Sad Songs. He is a founding member of Boston-based mime troupe, Ellipsis.


János Szász previously directed The Seagull, Desire Under the Elms, Uncle Vanya, Marat/Sade, and Mother Courage and Her Children at the A.R.T. and Alice vs. Wonderland for the A.R.T. Institute in Moscow. He was the Director of the A.R.T. Institute and a faculty member from 2001-03. Theater work in his native Hungary includes Sophocles’ The Oedipus Cycle, Master and Margarita, Ghosts, The King Stag, A Streetcar Named Desire, Uncle Vanya, Baal, Mother Courage, and Marat/Sade, among many others.  He has directed several productions in Oslo, Norway and A Streetcar Named Desire for Arena Stage, Washington, DC. His films include Opium (presented at various festivals in Europe and winner of several prizes), Woyzeck (Hungarian nominee for the Oscars), The Witman Boys (official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and winner of several awards), and Eyes of the Holocaust, a documentary film about the Hungarian holocaust produced by Steven Spielberg for the Shoah Foundation, presented at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival.  He is a member of the European Film Academy.

 

Set Designer Riccardo Hernandez has collaborated with Szász on the Moscow performance of Alice vs Wonderland, as well as The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Desire Under the Elms, and Marat/Sade at the A.R.T. and he also designed Best of Both Worlds, Julius Caesar, Britannicus, Romeo and Juliet, The Miser, Full Circle, Enrico IV, Phaedra, and Othello among others. Broadway credits include Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change, Topdog/Underdog (also Royal Court, London), Elaine Stritch at Liberty (also West End’s Old Vic, London and National Tour), Parade (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations), Noise/Funk (also National Tours and Japan), The Tempest; over a dozen productions at New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater and all over the United States.

 

Costume Designer David Israel Reynoso previously created sets and costumes for Cabaret, Trojan Barbie, and Copenhagen, and costumes for No Man’s Land and The Keening. He was also Costumer for Sleep No More. His most recent local costume designs are seen in the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of Othello on the Boston Common this summer; he has collaborated on close to one hundred theater productions in the Boston area as well as nationwide. He is Resident Costume Artisan at the A.R.T. and the recipient of numerous awards.


Maruti Evans has worked as lighting and set designer in opera, theater, and dance for the last twelve years. His work includes The Oresteia at Classic Stage Co, Exit Stage Left at Parallel Exits at Lincoln Center, The Traveling Lady at Ensemble Studio Theater (OBIE Award for Best Revival), In Paradise at Cherry Lane Theater/INTAR Theater, and others. He has designed several productions at the 59E59 Theaters, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Duke New 42 Theater, Lincoln Center and Stonybrook University. He has been nominated for the Drama Desk Awards in Outstanding Lighting Design in 2007, 2008, and 2009 for the 59E59 productions: In the Heat of the Night, Slaughterhouse 5 and Blindness. Also a nominee for Audelco Awards Best Lighting and Set Design (Relativity with Ensemble Studio Theater & Noon Day Sun with Diverse City Theater) and a nominee for Bessie Awards Best Lighting and Set Design (Relativity with Ensemble Studio Theater).


Clive Goodwin designed Paradise Lost last season. He worked for numerous years in London, where he designed sound for Dancing With The Stars, The Sound of Musicals, and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross at the BBC; worked with the Glastonbury Festival, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal College of Music, Royal Festival Hall, and the Avignon Festival; and in the U.S. at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Hollywood Bowl, and Madison Square Garden. Mr. Goodwin is A.R.T.’s Resident Sound Designer.



The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) is one of the country’s most celebrated resident theaters and the winner of numerous awards — including the Tony Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and numerous local Elliot Norton and I.R.N.E. Awards. In 2002 the A.R.T. was the recipient of the National Theatre Conference’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and May of 2003 it was named one of the top three theaters in the country by Time magazine. Founded by Robert Brustein in 1980, during its 30-year history the A.R.T. has welcomed major American and international theater artists, presenting a varied repertoire that includes new American plays, bold reinterpretations of classical texts, and provocative new music theater productions. The A.R.T. has performed throughout the U.S. and worldwide in twenty-one cities in sixteen countries on four continents.  It has presented over two hundred productions, over half of which were premieres of news plays, translations and adaptations. In 2008 the organization welcomed its new Artistic Director, Diane Paulus. Under her leadership the theater has developed a new initiative, EXPERIENCE THE A.R.T. that seeks to revolutionize the theater experience through a sustained commitment to empowering the audience. This initiative recognizes that theater is not just a play on the stage, but also a social occasion for people to come together and experience community.  This audience-driven vision speaks directly to the A.R.T.’s core mission — “to expand the boundaries of theater.” By expanding its focus to include the audience’s total theater experience, the A.R.T. seeks to give audiences a voice, a sense of ownership, and a feeling of importance in the theatrical event. 

 

The A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard was established in 1987 by the A.R.T. as a training ground for the American theater; its programs are fully integrated with the activities of the A.R.T.  In 1998 the Institute entered into a partnership with the Moscow Art Theater (MXAT) School, providing the students with the opportunity of working closely with professionals of the A.R.T. and the MXAT as well as with the best master teachers from the U.S. and Russia. The intensive two-year five-semester program offers students opportunities for training and growth unmatched by any program in the country.

 

The Loeb Drama Center at 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, is accessible to persons with special needs and to those requiring wheelchair seating or first-floor restrooms. Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons can also reach the theater by calling the toll-free N.E. Telephone Relay Center at 1-800-439-2370.  Public transportation and discount parking are available nearby.


CALENDAR AND RELATED EVENTS AT A GLANCE

WHAT: ALICE vs. WONDERLAND
Based on the stories by Lewis Carroll
Remixed by Brendan Shea

 

Directed by János Szász
Set Design by Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Design by David Israel Reynoso
Lighting Design by Maruti Evans
Sound Design by Clive Goodwin
Movement by Cheryl Turski
   

CAST

Mary Ann/Black Dahlia Annika Franklin
White Rabbit/Spade #2 Vincent Selhorst-Jones
Alice 1 Angela Gulner
Door 1/Cheshire Cat Nick Crandall/Derek Lettman
Door 2/Lory/White Knight Ed Walsh
Door 3/Duck/March Hare Jared Eaton
Alice 2 Erikka Walsh
Dodo/Tweedledum/Alice 4/Black Dahlia Sarah Jadin
Tweedledee/Alice 4/Spade #5 Megan Brotherton
Mouse/Spade #7 Steven Good
Pat/Caterpillar/Knave Christian Grunnah
Alice 3 Faith Imafidon
Caterpillar/Mad Hatter Christopher Staley
Alice 5 Jennifer Soo
Dormouse/King of Hearts M. Zach Bubolo
Alice 6/Black Dahlia Renée-Marie Brewster
Queen of Hearts/Black Dahlia Jordy Lievers


WHEN:
Saturday, September 18 @ 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Wednesday Sept 22 @ 10:00am (Student Matinee)
Saturday, September 25 @ 2:00pm and 7:30pm
(a special party sponsored by the A.R.T. Ambassadors follows the 7:30pm performance, open to ticketholders)
Saturday, October 2 @ 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Saturday, October 9 @ 2:00pm and 7:30pm


Please note that Alice vs. Wonderland is an A.R.T./MXAT Institute production presented at reduced ticket prices, and though critics are welcome to attend, we request that there is no reviewing so the acting students are not under pressure to please the critical community.    


WHERE: Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge


RATING: 13 and up.


TICKETS: $15 all seats
Tickets may be charged to American Express, Visa, or Master Card
Box Office Phone and A.R.T. InfoLine: (617) 547-8300, tickets also available online at www.AmericanRepertoryTheater.org


MEDIA INFORMATION:
Email Address: press@amrep.org
High-resolution production photos of ALICE vs. WONDERLAND are available for download at http://www.AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/media-room

Release Date:
August 11, 2010
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