Alice in Wonderland
The script was very true to Lewis Carroll, with stunning music composed by Billie Cox, lots of eclectic choreography by Cynthia Pepper, wonderfully playful and colorful costumes by Michael Berg, and a chessboard playground-like set by Bruce Lackovic (which our Interns and crew valiantly set up and took down three times a week in what was undoubtedly our most difficult changeover ever between repertory shows.)
Yet for us, the production will always be tinged with the sadness of loss. Denise Kirchner, our dear friend, who created the outrageous props including the 52-foot long Alice arm and giant foot, passed away of heart failure just weeks after the production closed. Denise was a beloved fixture in North Bay theatre, having had a long association not only with Marin Shakespeare Company (starting as costume designer for our very first production in 1990) but also with College of Marin, the Mountain Play, Sonoma State University and many other theatres. She was full of life and light, intensely creative, generous to a fault, and always a joy to have around. We will miss her dearly.
From the Playbill - Director 's Notes:
We have talked for many years about doing a production of Alice in Wonderland at Marin Shakespeare Company. Like the best of Shakespeare, it's a classic story, with wonderfully poetic language, deep thoughts, and enduring characters. Like Shakespeare, it has been retold in many different ways -- through film, TV, pop-up books, rock songs, and cartoons (to name a few.) Its eternal fascination is what makes it a classic. But why?
Alice is a coming of age story, but it is unlike the typical story. There is no quest, no dragons to slay, no impossible feats to accomplish, no prized princess' hand to win. The journey Alice goes on is much more interior and subtle than Theseus' vanquishing of the Minotaur or Dorothy's search for the Wizard. This young woman's quest is to answer the Caterpillar's query: "Who are you?" and this is a question Alice has trouble with until the very end. Her tasks are to unravel words, to unpuzzle personalities, to navigate changing rules of society, and to find herself within herself.
But the power of the story is Wonderland itself, the child's world where fantastical things can and do happen -- and are greeted with a child's resilient logic and acceptance. And as we set out to tell this story here, outdoors, in a theatre with limited abilities for cinematic effects, blackouts, flyspace, and scenic changes, we found we had to rely on our imaginations and simple, childlike inventiveness to create the magic of Wonderland. And somehow that seems most satisfying.
What the Critics Said:
“…great family fun….The costumes are fantastic, the actors wear them with élan, and all appear to be having a lot of fun in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – making Marin Shakespeare audiences laugh instead of cry as they do on alternate nights with ‘King Lear.’ Lesley Schisgall Currier adapts and directs Alice’s well-known journey, and she doesn’t settle for comedy; her aim is to capture the angst and confusion of a young girl who encounters strange creatures down the rabbit hole that is her preteen consciousness. Hannah Rose Kornfeld’s Alice brings this out….Nevermind the Freudian underplay, it’s the overplay that makes it all work….delighting parents as well as the young ones….And one can’t overlook the charming original score by Billlie Cox, choreography by Cynthia Pepper, lights by Ellen Brooks and those out-of-this world costumes by Michael Berg.”
Lee Brady, Pacific Sun