Fascinated by Alice In Wonderland? Try a new take on some of its characters as they appear in choreographer/performer Lucy Rupert 's Days Of Mad Rabbits , the latest in Harbourfront Centre 's Hatch series. It begins tonight (Thursday, December 1).
"I've always been interested in the Mad Hatter," recalls Rupert, whose company Blue Ceiling co-produces the work in progress. "Lewis Carroll's work is so cryptic you can play imaginatively with his characters."
Her movement-based piece brings together Alice, the Hatter, the White Rabbit and the figure of Time, the latter sometimes blended with the tyrannical Queen of Hearts.
"In Carroll, there's a brief mention that the Hatter and Time had an argument and Time stopped the clock. That's why it's always teatime, 6 pm, and everyone's stuck at the tea party."
The hour-long piece has turned out to be less narrative than Rupert initially thought.
"What audiences will see is a fragmentation of the tea party, almost with a sense of amnesia. None of the characters know why they're there, but each is regularly drawn back to the table. Dance sequences take us through what might have brought them there in the first place.
"I tell the other performers - Noah Keneally , Barbara Pallomina and Caroline Niklas-Gordon - that it's okay to be confused about the story," laughs Rupert, who appears regularly with Theatre Rusticle. "It's Alice In Wonderland, after all, so everything is upside down and backwards. Don't worry about intellectual sense, I say, just let your body take over to move you from A to B."
See Openings for details.
Upping the Ante
Ante-M Theatre knows how to blend its art with its politics. The company is again mounting Project: Just Being , a festival that draws together visual and theatre artists to create several pieces in a short period of time.
Proceeds from the four-day festival, opening tonight (Thursday, December 1), go to Sheena's Place , which helps people deal with eating disorders.
"Someone at Sheena's Place wrote a poem, which was then re-interpreted by a team of visual artists led by Aurora Pagano ," says Ante-M's Nicholas Carella . "Next, a quartet of theatre collectives, led by N. Lee Aquino , Patrick Conner , Andrew Lamb and Nicole Stamp , had 24 hours to create four original works based on the canvas."
The visual artwork is a triptych - a three-piece series with ordered flowers at the bottom that become wild by the top panel.
"It becomes a jungle-like garden, with some bird imagery as well," adds Carella, who worked with Michelle Ouellet to mount the 2003 Project: Just Being with the street youth outreach group Sketch. "All four of the new shows, which use 21 performers, have a big movement component."
Carella sees the festival as more about raising public awareness of causes and organizations like Sheena's Place than about the box office.
"This is the kind of work that helps create communities between artists," he notes. "Doing it as a collective where everyone donates their time allows people to get together more easily, and the energy that's generated has everyone excited about the joint effort." For more info, see Opening.