Encore Michigan

Parallel 45 to do ‘Alice in Wonderland’ March 1-12.

Preview February 23, 2017 Encore Staff

TRAVERSE CITY—Parallel 45 Theatre will perform the imaginative stage version of Alice in Wonderland made famous by Andre Gregory and the Manhattan Project Mar. 1–12 at the former InsideOut Gallery (229 Garland St.) in Traverse City. Five professional actors will enhance this beloved story by utilizing a delightful clowning style often referred to as French clown. The Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, and all their friends will bring Wonderland alive with movement, music and mischievous shenanigans.

Parallel 45 is curious about all kinds of theatrical styles and genres. In 2012 and 2016, Alice in Wonderland Director Noah Durham Fried trained with Parisian master clown Victor Quezada-Perez, artistic director of Cie Umbral. Intrigued by this training, Parallel 45 Artistic Director Kit McKay asked Fried to apply “clown” to a story of his choosing. Fried jumped at the chance, choosing the classic Alice in Wonderland. According to Fried it, “showcased childhood in its purest form.” “What is a clown if not the embodiment of playfulness, discovery, vulnerability and joy?” Fried asked.

Working with 5 actors, Fried embarked on a rigorous training schedule. Clown work demands incredible muscularity and intimacy between the actors, and requires strong trust amongst the company. In other words, in order to achieve the ultimate playfulness of a child, an actor must be comfortable with looking foolish, falling, and failing. Fried’s mentor, internationally renowned clowning expert Victor Quezada-Perez traveled to Traverse City to act as Clowning Consultant on the production.

Directed by Noah Durham Fried (Chicago’s Trap Door Theatre; Moscow Art Theatre; Interlochen Shakespeare Festival; Interlochen Arts Academy guest faculty), this whirlwind production sweeps the audience up alongside Alice as she travels through the fantastical Wonderland we all know and love. Featuring Ben Whiting (Steppenwolf, Chicago), Sarah Bielman (Upright Citizens Brigade, New York) and Shelby Lewis (Carnegie Mellon School of Drama). Lighting design by Brian Elston (Goodman Theatre, Chicago) and set design by Christopher Dills (The Atlanta Opera).

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.parallel45.org or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006. The show runs approximately 60 minutes and is suitable for ages 8 and up.  Performances are 7:30 pm Wednesday–Saturday and 2:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Week of 11/27/2023

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