When James T. Spencer, director of the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble (SUBE), turned to accept the applause at the 2018 Great American Brass Band Festival (GABBF) in Danville, Kentucky, he joked to himself, “Now what do we do for an…
‘Lookingglass Alice’ is a circus-like spectacle
In your wildest daydreams, you’ve never imagined “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” like this! Staged with endless wit, astonishing physicality, breathtaking aerial acrobatic and theatrical daring, Alice, Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty, Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and all of Lewis Carroll’s enchanting characters come to dizzyingly, playful, gravity-defying life in a circus-like spectacle sure to amaze kids and adults alike.
“Lookingglass Alice” runs Feb. 24-March 14 at Syracuse Stage. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.SyracuseStage.org, by phone at (315) 443-3275 or in person at 820 E. Genesee St. “Lookingglass Alice” is sponsored by Carrier Corp. and POMCO Group. Media sponsors are Clear Channel Communications, Syracuse.com and Urban CNY. Syracuse Stage season sponsors are The Post-Standard and Time Warner Cable.
“Lookingglass Alice” premiered at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago in 2005 and was developed in affiliation with the Actor’s Gymnasium Circus and Performing Arts Schools. Since the production’s premier in 2005, it has had nearly 300 performances all over the country.
Director/Creator David Catlin found a deep connection between his experiences in fatherhood and the story Charles Dodgson, who wrote under the name Lewis Carroll, wrote for Alice Liddell and her sisters. “It was Charles Dodgson telling the real Alice to slow down. Don’t grow up so fast,” says Catlin. The idea helped Catlin structure the show to map Alice’s journey from a girl to a queen.
“I took the idea of the chessboard that Lewis Carroll gives us in ‘Through the Looking-Glass.’ Alice starts as a pawn and throughout the story she can become a queen; she can become a grown-up. Each of our squares in our story is a different story from either of the two books and represents, in a way, sometimes in a very subtle way that the audience may not recognize, growing up,” Catlin says.
Throughout its performances, “Lookingglass Alice” has garnered public and critical praise. The Chicago Tribune reported that the show is “A free-wheeling, circus-loving, theatrical riff on Lewis Carroll’s classic yarns,” and the Chicago Sun-Times says it is “Endlessly witty, rashly whimsical and awash in nerve-jangling daring.”
The shows attract audiences of all ages. “It’s a show that seems to appeal to children as young as 5 years old. Sometimes even younger,” notes Catlin. “We have lots of audience members who show up who are in their 70s without kids immediately in their life who seem to enjoy it and want to come back again and bring their peers as well.”
Special events in association with the production include:
• Thursday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m.—LGBT Pride Night
Get IN with the OUT crowd at a pre-show reception
• Friday, Feb. 26—LIVE in the Sutton Series
• Sunday, Feb. 28—Actor Talkback Series
Q&A with the cast following the Sunday evening performance
• Saturday, March 6 at 3 p.m.—Welch Allyn Signed Interpreted Performance Series
In Memory of Susan Thompson
• Wednesday, March 10—Wednesday @ 1 Lecture Series