First: Thank you to everyone who managed to make it to one of my four “sneak peek” staged readings of my new play Through the Looking-Glass Darkly as part of the Alice150 conference last week in NYC. The audience response and feedback afterward was truly humbling. I’m extremely excited that people are so entertained and moved by this piece; I didn’t expect it, but a few folks were even in tears by the end. I’ve worked on this project for a long time and am thrilled to be able to share it in this form, while I continue to work towards a fully staged theatrical production down the road.
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be giving one more sneak peek performance at 2pm on Saturday, October 24th, at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters, 125 Symmes Drive, Manalapan, NJ. The show runs 75 minutes, and I’ll be holding a talkback after the performance.
If you’re in the Manalapan area on 10/24, please join me in helping the Monmouth County Library celebrate Alice150! I hope to see some of you there. Telephone: 732-431-7220.
This performance is FREE. There are no tickets or reservations; just come and enjoy! My thanks to the library’s Donna Mansfield, Christina Roma, and everyone there for helping make this performance possible. The play is suitable for ages 16 and up; it is not intended for children.
If you’re not able to see the show on 10/24, stay tuned–I will post more dates and news as they become available.
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be presenting four “sneak peek” performances of my new 75-minute solo play Through the Looking-Glass Darkly, or Lewis Carroll and the Pursuit of Innocence, at Columbia University’s Butler Library on October 6th and 7th as part of the international ALICE150 conference.
You probably know that Lewis Carroll wrote two of the most popular books in history: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. You may not know that in real life, Lewis Carroll was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Mathematical Lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford. Imagine Lewis Carroll giving a lecture–on himself! Come hear the full, untold story of his relationship with the real Alice, as taken from their own writings.
You can read all the details here.
I hope to see you there!
Small World Department: I’m really excited about this bit of news: Once again, the magic of Lewis Carroll makes itself felt in surprising ways. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Lewis Carroll, and even recently served for four years as President of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Currently, I maintain the blog on the web site I built for them. Recently a composer named Carsten Braun from Germany contacted me with a link to a beautiful musical setting he made of a holiday poem that Carroll wrote, performed (in English) by talented actor/singer Bastian Korff. If you’d like to watch their musical holiday clip, click here.
I enjoyed the music and the performance very much, and struck up a correspondence with Carsten. He told me that Bastian has also performed the one-man show I Am My Own Wife, which I did a few years back at Vermont Stage. Last week, Carsten told me that he and Bastian were actually going to be performing some music gigs at various locations in Berlin–including at the Grunderzeit Museum, where I Am My Own Wife takes place! Carsten had been to the museum once before, and mentioned that they have a gallery of photos of U.S. productions of the play in the museum. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind finding out how I might submit a photo from the Vermont Stage production.
Carsten and Bastian just returned from their successful musical trip to Berlin, and it turns out a photo of me is already on display at the Grunderzeit Museum! They must have found my web site and chose one of the pictures from that production. Doing that particular play meant an enormous amount to me for both personal and professional reasons, and I am so honored to have that production recognized in Berlin where Charlotte von Mahlsdorf started it all. I have been talking with a couple of other theaters about doing another production, so I hope that I will have the opportunity to play Charlotte and all 34 other characters again sometime soon. And then the absence of “Vermont” after my name will mean I have played the role in multiple states. In addition to Vermont Stage, I also wish they could have given credit to the directors–mine was the remarkable Sara Lampert Hoover. But in the meantime, I am so thrilled to be on the wall at the Grunderzeit Museum. And I’m so grateful to Carsten for sending the photos and letting me know about it! As Charlotte might have said (though probably in better German): Ich bin Ihnen sehr dank bar!
Here’s an adorable trailer for the upcoming claymation feature film inspired by Lewis Carroll’s immortal nonsense poem, The Hunting of the Snark. It’s written and directed by Saranne Bensusan. I’m not featured in this trailer, but I contributed the voice of the Judge to the Barrister’s Dream sequence. After all, who could turn down an appearance in a Lewis Carroll project? Not me! Enjoy.
The Hunting of the Snark – Official Trailer from From the 3rd Story Productions on Vimeo.
I was delighted to learn that Jenny Woolf, author of the fascinating new biography The Mystery of Lewis Carroll, greatly enjoyed the two free nonsense poem audio downloads I created for Storypods Audiobooks over in Oxford, England. On her Facebook page, Jenny wrote:
“I’ve been in email correspondence with Andrew Sellon, LCSNA president, but never heard his voice. I am enchanted by his wonderful readings of these nonsense poems, winners of an Alice contest run by Oxford Storypods.”
Thanks, Jenny! I had great fun doing the recordings for Liz and Francis of Storypods. Both poems are very clever, and it’s great to be able to share some free poetry with the online community. I hope to record a lot more poetry to share. If you haven’t already listened to or downloaded the two contest winners, click the image on this post to visit the Storypods site. While you’re there, check out their own recording of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and selected letters of Lewis Carroll; it’s delightful.
I became acquainted with Liz and Francis, the brains behind the Oxford-based Storypods Audiobooks when I reviewed their charming audio production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a couple of years ago. This year, Liz told me they were going to sponsor a nonsense writing competition, and asked me to be one of their judges. I thanked her but declined since I felt that as President of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America I should remain neutral. But I offered to record the two winning poems if my schedule allowed. Liz thought that was a great idea, and happily there was time, so you can now listen to and download the two charming poems that won the competition. Just click the image on the right to visit the Storypods site, and enjoy!
I was delighted to be invited as the keynote speaker for St. Peter’s College’s recent Lewis Carroll Symposium. English Club President Jonathan Brantley (wearing the stylish brown hare ears in the photo) and his fellow club members put together a great afternoon of events. As requested, I gave an informal talk about how I “fell down the rabbit hole” and became a Lewis Carroll fan for life, ending up as President of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Jonathan presented a very good paper giving attendees an overview of the creation of the two “Alice” books, and their continuing impact on our culture. There was also a frabjous and bountiful buffet of Carrollian treats, including some elegant cupcakes bearing Cheshire Cat smiles, or quotes like “Eat Me” and “Drink Me”. I was very impressed with all the organization that went into the afternoon, and had a great time talking with both students and faculty. A brillig event!
I had a number of good auditions this month, and a number of callbacks from those. No bookings, but great feedback, and so I press on! I also did more Lewis Carroll-related interviews in anticipation of the March release of the Tim Burton “Alice” film sequel. Interviews included a recorded interview for NPR, and a phone interview Charlene Gianetti for her excellent site, womanaroundtown.com. You can read the resulting article, in which I’m heavily quoted, here. I also did an interview for a Polish publication that I was assured was a cross between Time and New Yorker magazine. I’ll look forward to reading a translation of that article.
As current President of the Lewis Carroll Society, I occasionally receive requests for interviews or expert answers to various Carrollian questions. I recently gave an interview to Glance magazine, and now this month I gave another to the Wall Street Journal in conjunction with the upcoming spate of adult-oriented movies based on children’s books, including Tim Burton’s upcoming riff on Alice in Wonderland, which opens 3/5/2010. The WSJ journalist and I spoke for 90 minutes, and one sentence made it into the article. That’s showbiz! I also answered an expertise question for the staff of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? They wanted to know whether Lewis Carroll had coined the word “snark.” Answer: To the best of our knowledge, yes! I told them he also came up with the term “portmanteau word” to describe a word that in today’s lingo would be called a “mash-up” of two words. Example: his word “slithy” could be a combination of “lithe” and “slimy”. Carroll’s works, including the famous poem Jabberwocky, are full of portmanteau words. Speaking of game shows, there’s a Carrollian question on Jeopardy and a clue/answer in the New York Times crossword puzzle about once a week. His works are that much a part of our popular culture.
Alice in Fort Lee, NJ!
I hosted the fall meeting of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America on 10/17. The focus was on early film versions of the Alice stories, and the meeting included a screening of the rare “Bud” Pollard version — the first “talkie” Alice in Wonderland — filmed in the early 1930’s right there in Fort Lee, NJ! Who knew Fort Lee was an early film capitol? A fascinating meeting, and a great children’s reading at nearby Elementary School #4.