Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Play Review: Alice in Wonderland

Image found here.
Last week I went to see the play Alice in Wonderland at the Synetic Theater. I bought my ticket from Goldstar, so I paid a good price. Goldstar usually sits you in the very front row, but because this wasn't a packed night, I was able to easily get a free seat closer to the back (and near an outlet where I could plug in my phone!).

The Synetic Theater always adds a modern, usually dark twist to classics (see my blog post about their version of The Picture of Dorian Gray). Alice was no exception (though not as dark as I was expecting). The set was mostly made up of metal obstacles (like twisted jungle gym parts); the characters would climb on these or move them around the stage to create the feeling of confusion. And other than Alice's traditional looking costume (which seemed a little Lolita-esque with a woman playing a little girl), the costumes had a goth/Halloween feel to them. The cat and rabbit (pictured below) don't even look like animals! This was definitely NOT based on the Disney version. Everything had an eerie feeling about it, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Image found here.
I was surprised how much this performance focused on movement. Synetic is known for its silent Shakespeare plays, but Alice was not promoted as a wordless play. There was some dialog (with accents that came and went, which is interesting since Kathy Gordon who played Alice is from England...), but the characters were created more by their movements than what they had to say. The rabbit hopped (more like stomped; Tori Bertocci is not very graceful.), the cat (played by Alex Mills) was slinking around the stage like an feline acrobat, and Humpty Dumpty showed his awkward struggles of being a huge egg on the go. There was surprisingly a lot of dance in this show: The Mad Hatter, March Hare, and the Dormouse did "The Robot;" there was a beautiful dance between the Lobster and the Dodo (NOT in the Disney movie), and both the Caterpillar and Humpty Dumpty randomly broke into dance for no rhyme or reason. The actors' movements, rather than the script, created the insanity and whimsy of the characters.

The Mad Hatter (played by Dallas Tolentino) looking mad as ever. Image found here.
The Caterpillar was made up of several actors to make all of his legs! Image found here.
I think one of the most talented actors was Vato Tsikurishvili, who played both the Caterpillar and Humpty Dumpty. He was very funny, and his hookah skills were quite impressive!

This play was very creative, which I appreciated. For example, when Alice grew larger to reach the key for the door, dancers and lights distracted the audience as another actor held Gordon up as if she were on stilts and the second person was hidden under a longer skirt. Then when Alice was crying because she was too large to fit through the door, her tears were portrayed by blue, hand-held lights that flicked on and off; even as she pretended to squeeze water out of her hair, these lights were like drops of water coming off of her ponytail (along with water sound effects). How neat is that?

Renata Veberyte Loman as the Queen of Hearts. Reminds me of Cruella. Image found here.
It's quite a short play with no intermission, so that's nice if you're a really busy person or just can't sit still for too long (both apply to me). So if you have a free night this fall, I would recommend checking Alice out!

Here's a sneak-peek video in case you're interested:

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