Parallel 45 Theatre will perform the imaginative stage version of Alice in Wonderland made famous by Andre Gregory and the Manhattan Project March 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. The production will enchant audiences ages 8 to 108.
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 five local, professional 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).
Read this feature article, “Adventurous Minds,” published in Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine for an inside look at Parallel 45 Theatre and to see photos of previous plays.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online 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 Wednesday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with an additional show Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
About Parallel 45 Theatre
Parallel 45 Theatre is dedicated to telling the very best stories on stage. We take familiar stories and turn them on their heads, we re-design classics for contemporary audiences, and we give expression to new voices. We strive to make theatre exciting and dynamic, allowing connection with the largest possible audience. We tell stories that speak to situations today, as much as they help us imagine them tomorrow. By employing local, national and international theatre artists, Parallel 45 performs a balance of innovative new works, reinvented classics and imaginative adaptations. We want to share the transformative power of the theatre with our incredibly special community, offering the kind of theatre you might see in New York, Detroit or Chicago—right here at home. Founded in 2010 by Erin Anderson Whiting and Kit McKay, we are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit professional theatre. We invite you to join us for our seventh season. Tickets and information available at parallel45.org.