This weekend, we attended/participated the production of Alice by the Neo Futurists and Upended Productions. It’s a novel piece that is very much a walking tour around Andersonville. It was a lot of fun. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books and I really enjoy any opportunity to see an adaptation of it. I need to watch more film adaptations of it but I try to see any theater production of it.
I think it did an amazing job of making the audience feel like Alice as she a through Wonderland. We were all Alice and we wandered through this world, never knowing what would happen next. I don’t want to get into too many details since part of the show is the element of surprise. We were led through various stores and establishments and met various characters from Alice in Wonderland. Some were adaptations of characters from the book but the show kept close to the source material. When the characters veered from the source material, I felt that that it still worked; the additions were relevant. The play made me want to go back and connect characters in the book to the various actors. Each interaction was very different. Some were monologues; some were participatory.
But the show was more than going from one place to another. They did an excellent job of making the walk fun and entertaining. People passed out petitions about various Wonderland causes or characters would suddenly appear from no where. And there were many playing cards along the way. Plus there is graffiti all around the neighborhood for the production. We wandered in alley ways, through stores, and up and down the street. It was really a mini-tour of the neighborhood. And to be sure, there are little things to eat and drink on the trip. Because you have to have opportunities to “Eat me” in Alice’s world.
I was also impressed by the level of coordination. The piece reminded me a lot of the personal play “Since I Suppose” that I saw in September. That’s the one where I was the only going through it (well, there was a person 20 minutes before me and 20 minutes after me) that led me on a wild romp around the Loop and River North. It takes an incredible amount of coordination to make such a play/tour happen. Alice seemed flawless.
I have to mention one unscheduled occurrence with the public. Out of Site, the performance art series in Wicker Park, has taught me to look at how audience members and the general public react. The dialogue between artist and the audience is important and worthy of note. During one piece inside a building, we were in a room watching and interacting with actors. The door was open and other people in the building could look in. I glanced out the door and saw a man, completely transfixed with his mouth hanging open in complete shock. It was absolutely perfect to the occasion.
The show is going on until November 2nd, I believe. So go on and have a wonderland time.