Happy closing weekend! I could not be more proud of the entire cast and crew!!! What a wonderful and unforgettable experience. Much love to you all for making this “idea” a reality, since I had this idea only one year ago. It’s like watching a baby grow up and leave the nest. I will miss you all, but here’s to a revival in the near future!! smile emoticon Time for celebration!!!

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We had 5 sold out shows in total, and the other nights the house was 3/4 full.  Not bad for a first timer like yours truly!!!!

We received stellar reviews:

http://tolucantimes.info/theatre_review/bring-along-a-quirky-sense-of-humor-as-curious-conversations-is-a-wild-adventure/

Bring along a quirky sense of humor as ‘Curious Conversations’ is a wild adventure

Review by Kristy Markovik

Opening night for Curious Conversations at the Eclectic Company Theater was packed with an energetic crowd.

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Curious Conversations covers a lot of ground in 100 minutes (plus intermission).

It is comprised of eight short plays that take audiences on a dizzying trip back down the rabbit hole. This version of Wonderland has all that you would expect from a play inspired by Carroll’s world.  It’s full of wacky wordplay, charming characters, a perfectly curious set and (just like Carroll’s work), a quirky sense of humor is your best travel companion for this adventure.

Curious Conversations picks up where Carroll left off to address any lingering curiosities – What if Alice revisited the rabbit hole in her old age? What to do about a misbehaving reflection on Alice’s wedding day? And what could Alice possibly need with a private detective? If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Alice after she left Wonderland, or if you are interested in catching up with some of Wonderland’s favorite residents, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Curious Conversations including An Alice of a Certain Age, The White Rose, Meet the Tweedles, Looking Through the Glass, HardBoiled Alice, Toke, Of Cabbages and Kings, and Quit While You’re a Head.

https://www.facebook.com/TheGeekAuthority/posts/841827752572949:0

THEATRE REVIEW #279 – Curious Conversations
“”Eclectic Theatre’s “Curious Conversations” Is Amazingly Original Fun In Lewis Carroll’s World!”

Written By Lorenzo Marchessi
Born in 1832, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson otherwise known as Lewis Carroll wrote two of the most world-renowned children’s classics ever written in history – in 1865 he wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and six years later in 1871 Carroll wrote its sequel, “Through the Looking-Glass” – and both captures the hearts and imaginations – both young and old.

The Eclectic Company Theatre in North Hollywood has a fresh original take on the old and inspiring characters and sprinkles it with so much humor that you’ll wish there were more! Basically written in eight short stories and wonderfully directed by two talented people – Shane Labowitz and Madelyne Heyman (each noted by each story) – who each gave focus on smart and witty action and enhancement to these already well revered and unforgettable Wonderland characters with a few surprises thrown in! Above all, besides being so charming – it was hysterical! The fantastic stories include;

“Looking Through The Glass” written by Michael Maiello (Dir. MH) – is smart and clever piece whereby Alice, played by Nicolette Shutty, and the Red Queen, played by Nathalie Blossom, discuss the nature of their Wonderland experience and their friends while playing an intense game of imaginary chess. Nathalie is very stern and quite witty with her dialogue and is the perfect personification of the Red Queen while the smart and willful Nicolette gives the young adventurer all the zest she needs to intelligently banter with the Queen! It was nicely directed while using a dressing table and a ‘two-sided’ invisible mirror as their only go-between.

“Hard Boiled Alice” written by Suzie Heaton (Dir. SL) – is the hysterical take on ‘Film Noir’ detective stories of the 40’s. Detective Sam Spade, played by Tim Polzin, gets a visit by Alice, played by Nicolette Shutty, on a mission to find the White Rabbit and hire him as her detective. Through a series of hysterical narration by Tim to the audience and having Nicolette actually noticing and commenting on his constantly breaking the ‘4th wall’ to the audience, this made for a wonderful comedy segment with a twist ending.

“The White Rose” written by Gabi Rodriguez (Dir. MH) – has the very colorful Mad Hatter, wonderfully played by Adrianne Pearson meeting for tea and conversation with the Cheshire Cat, who is very artistically portrayed by Diana Vaden. Watching the sleek and dancer-like movements of Diana and the wildly crazed performance of Adrianne made for some incredibly funny and quite surprising responses that will completely take you by surprise.

“Meet The Tweedles” written by Eric Duhon (Dir. SL) is a nice interplay of the two infamous fictional brothers who do more than make you laugh at their antics, but surprisingly keep the audience on their toes with their clever quips and quibbles. Melanie Cruz is Tweedle Dee and Merileigh Moen is Tweedle Dum and they both give a whole-hearted, three-stooges enhanced on stage banter that is both physical and philosophical in the Lewis Carroll tradition. Merileigh and Melanie have incredible comic timing and wonderful chemistry together!

“Of Cabbages And Kings” written by Natasha Troop (Dir. MH) begins with the tale that is spoken by the heartfelt reading of the Poet played by Eugenie Trow while we see a somewhat darker – but really funny – side to the Walrus, played rather regally by Tim Polzin as he convinces the Carpenter played by Nate Werner to understand and eventually do things he never thought he would do.

“An Alice Of A Certain Age” written by Nancy Cooper Frank (Dir. SL) is the story of a much older Alice, very spritely and with lot of energy played by JC Hennings and her confusion in chasing the White Rabbit played very hurriedly by Carissa Gipprich. Along the way she meets the wise and very sarcastic Catapiller who is keenly played by Dai Komberg as well the overly excited and proud Duchess played by Lisa Stanley who together can’t believe Alice has actually grown old.

“Quit While You’re A Head” written by Rochelle Perry (Dir. MH) is a nice little showcase of the Mad Hatter played rather wildly by Adrienne Pearson trying to convince the maddening anger of the Queen of Hearts played by Abby Gershuny that offing people’s heads is not the best way to deal with things. Ironically the comical ‘heads’ mounted on the Mad Hatter’s wall include Seann Hallisky as the King, Carissa Gipprich as the White Rabbit, Melanie Cruz as Tweedle Dee and Diana Vaden as the Cheshire Cat all carrying a slight grudge against the Queen.

“Toke” written by Marni L.B. Troop (Dir. SL) is basically a therapy group set up for people who ‘toke’ too much in Wonderland. The group seems to be made up some very funny caterpillars identified by the color of what they are. Amanada Charney plays Orange, Meghan McConnell plays Pink, Seann Hallisky plays Green and Dai Kornberg plays Blue. It’s simple in story, but uniquely funny in a support-group kind of way.

I have to mention the incredible perfect Wonderlandish stylized set design by Natasha Troop. As you see in the images – you can’t help but feel as audience members you are not falling down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ yourself! The spot-on, picture perfect and very creative costume designs by Tsebahat Fiseha and Becky Van Cleve only made the entire show that much more fanciful and ‘real’ or as ‘real’ the world of Lewis Carroll can be in this day and age of technologies!

The Eclectic Company Theatre, in North Hollywood has an amazing ‘Gem’ on their hands with this wonderfully fun and colorful – and very original – production of “Curious Conversations” which once again brings to life these comical and memorable characters from Lewis Carroll’s incredible world of ‘Alice’ and her various adventures in the magical place known as Wonderland! Something for the whole family to see and a wonderful trip down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ you’ll soon not forget! Check them out at www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org and tell them Lorenzo sent you from www.FaceBook.com/TheGeekAuthority !

©2015 TheGeek Authority.com & ©2015 LandMProductions.com
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Pic 001 – Top L – Dai Kornberg, Carissa Gipprich, JC Henning, Lisa Stanley – Top R – Tim Polzin, Nicolette Shutty – Middle L – Nicolette Shutty, Nathalie Blossom – Middle Center – Adrienne Pearson, Diana Vaden – Middle R – Amanda Charney, Seann Hallisky – Bottom L – Merileigh Moen, Amanda Charney – Bottom R – Seann Hallisky, Carissa Gipprich, Melanie Cruz, Diana Vaden

http://www.examiner.com/review/curious-conversations

There is something both old and new in town. It is something mostly fun and wildly whimsical and predominately entertaining. It is on stage right now at venerable Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village [Los Angeles], California and it called “Curious Conversations.”

It is essentially eight skits based upon Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wunderland and Through The Looking Glass. The show opens with a much older Alice reflecting back on her experiences in Wunderland. Her reminiscence evolves into a desire and a passion and ultimate a decision to jump back down that rabbit hole for a second visit into Wunderland. Ah but things do change Alice, you should know that. Never mind let’s go back and explore yet again. Inspired by the original work of Lewis Carroll this skit was written by Nancy Cooper Frank.

Next up there is The White Rose by Gabi Rodriguez followed by the uproarious Meet the Tweedles from Eric Duhon. And so the show goes with four skits in Act One and four skits in Act Two which I admit is in this case a misuse of the word “Act.” Nevertheless there are a total of eight very distinct skits each with its own character and all intriguing and amusing at worst and hysterically funny at their best.

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed both the first skit Alice of a Certain Age and Hard Boiled Alice from Suzie Heaton. Tim Polzin portrays Sam Spade and he knocks it out of the park.

But I do have one slightly negative comment and it relates to the skit Toke which seems to have fun with the idea of excessive marijuana use by several of the characters in Wunderland. Yes, it was rather funny but somewhat glorifying not just drug use but clearly drug abuse in a show certain to attract at least some youthful viewers is in my opinion not such a good idea.

That said, overall Curious Conversations is a fun, sometimes slightly frivolous yet overall entertaining and amusing compilation of eight performances in one show all on stage right now at the Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Valley Village, California 91607.

http://www.haineshisway.com/2015/05/curious-conversations-reviewed-by-rob-stevens/

May 30, 2015:

Curious Conversations reviewed by Rob Stevens

Rochelle Perry had a very curious idea about a year ago after reading Lewis Carroll’s novels about Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. What would these characters say and do from a modern perspective. She soon involved other writers and the end result is Curious Conversations, eight short plays involving characters from the novels, receiving its World Premiere at North Hollywood’s Eclectic Company Theatre. Some of the playlets work better than others but all are short and mostly to the point. The evening runs less than two hours and there are a few gems to be found among the octet.

Nancy Cooper Frank’s An Alice of a Certain Age finds an Older Alice (JC Henning), bored with mending socks and meeting with the vicar and the temperance ladies. She once again dives into the rabbit hole after the White Rabbit (Carissa Gripprich) and encounters the Caterpillar (Dai Kornberg) and the Duchess (Lisa Stanley) whom do not recognize the older woman she has become. Alice should have heeded Thomas Wolfe–“You can’t go home again.”

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Adrienne Pearson and Diana Vaden (all photos by Rochelle Perry)

Gabi Rodriguez’s The White Rose finds the Mad Hatter (a delirious Adrienne Pearson) and the Cheshire Cat (an enigmatic Diana Vaden) drinking tea and gossiping. Michael Maiello’s Looking Through the Glass is an existential exercise that looks in on Alice (Nicolette Shutty) on her wedding day to a tax collector. As she peers into the mirror the Red Queen (an excellent and devious Nathalie Blossom) engages her in some mind games and chess play while trying to convince her that life is more fun on her side of the looking glass.

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Nicolette Shutty and Nathalie Blossom

The comic highlight of the evening is Eric Duhon’s Meet the Tweedles as Tweedle Dee (Melanie Cruz) and Tweedle Dum (Merileigh Moen) engage in some wordplay and roughhousing as they rehearse a reading of a “tragedy”. Shane Labowitz’s inventive direction keeps the laughs coming fast and furious. Labowitz directed half of the playlets while Madelyne Heyman directed the other four.

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Merileigh Moen and Amanda Charney

Suzie Heaton’s Hard Boiled Alice presents a film noir-ish Alice (Nicolette Shutty) who seeks out detective Sam Spade (a perfect reading by Tim Polzin) to discover the whereabouts of the White Rabbit and other inhabitants of Wonderland. Marni L.B. Troop’s Toke is a one-joke scene that while a good idea (a self-help group for caterpillars hooked on their hookah puffing) falls flat because of deadly pacing and lackluster performances.

Natasha Troop’s Of Cabbages and Kings takes too long to set up as the Poet (Eugenie Trow) recites the tale of the Walrus (a masterfully stentorian reading by Polzin) and the Carpenter (Nate Werner bursting with innocent charm) and the unfortunate oysters they devoured. Once the characters arrive and the tale proceeds to a cannibalistic ending, fun ensues.

Perry’s own Quit While You’re A Head ends the evening as the Mad Hatter (the delightfully manic Pearson again) attempts to keep her head firmly on her shoulders when the Queen of Hearts (a towering Abby Gershuny) enters her shop. The Hatter has saved a few heads the Queen has lopped off (everyone is headless now in Wonderland except for the Queen and the Hatter) and uses them as mannequins to display her wares. It’s a macabre ending to an interesting evening.

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Seann Hallisky, Carissa Gipprich, Melanie Cruz and Diana Vaden

Natasha Troop’s set design features chess board patterned walls and floor and a series of ever diminishing doorways, but her lighting design is static and bland. The real stars of the evening are the colorful and inventive costumes by Tsebahat Fiseha and Becky Van Cleve.

http://thelosangelesbeat.com/2015/06/the-eclectic-company-theatres-curious-conversations-8-plays-inspired-by-lewis-carrolls-alices-adventures-in-wonderland-through-th/

The Eclectic Company Theatre’s “Curious Conversations: 8 Plays Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ & ‘Through the Looking Glass’”: Inspires Psychedelic Escapades and Tweedle Fun!

Photo Courtesy of Rochelle Perry

When we think of parallel universes, so often we muse upon existences wherein Pauley Shore is president of the United States rather than Barack Obama (Bud-dy!).  A reality wherein Elvis Presley, did NOT fake his own death, as in another speculated parallel existence, but moved away from the music industry all together to become a Vegan animal husbandry artist and an organic beekeeper.  Ooh and say, what if cats had lips not to mention wore high heels in that invisible space under their ankle/heel (which IS it?) when they walk?!?  What if the future was past, and the past was present, and future was present perfect, and everything meshed such that hippies stormed the Bastille and protested The Spanish Inquisition? (Surely they would have expected it!)  Yes, these are all scenarios we associate with parallel universes.  But very often do we forget to remember one of the first, most magical parallel universes (whether through the looking glass or down the rabbit hole) in the name of Wonderland and all the mind-bending realities witnessed by Alice herself!

And bend the brain this production will, from the frivolously fragrant fruit-loopy flavorsome wine procured for a mere donation in the lobby, to the oblong yet, oddly angled black and white chessboard set sporting the dizzying psychedelic rabbit hole projection on the screen upon its dorsal wall, one nearly senses they have already transcended and entered a most Serlingesque portal boasting decided Carrollian and Morissonesque undertones, overtones, and mid-tones alike!  Even the production’s intro harps on this very notion as we are informed of any and all emergency exits in order to prevent us from being “trapped in Wonderland” in conjunction with being warned about an utter non-allowance of “phones or recording devices or—off with your head!”

Photo Courtesy of Rochelle Perry

Take the aforementioned elementary school teacherish admonishments one step further and reflect upon what might happen if a middle-aged school-marmish Alice suddenly returned to said place of wonder, to speak nothing of varying and sundry characters being tweaked into  scenes they might not otherwise have ever appeared, or better yet, envisage Wonderland residents manifesting themselves in the real world and you have the Eclectic Company Theatre’s latest production, Curious Conversations: 8 Plays Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” & “Through the Looking Glass”.  Produced by Rochelle Perry and Natasha Troop, and directed by Madelyne Heyman and Shane Labowitz, the production wends its way most peculiarly and incongruously through some very arresting and deliciously ridiculous speculation of what could have been, or may very well still be occurring in the eternal ether of Lewis Carroll’s theatrically inspired landscape in a journey unlike any other.

“I had this concept after I re-read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass on the Kindle and then I was thinking of getting back into playwrighting,” says producer/playwright Rochelle Perry, “because it had been several years, and I [thought] ‘Oh Alice in Wonderland.  Everyone loves Alice in Wonderland … You know there’s already an audience for it and so [I figured] why not?” And, from it, quite a new and exciting version of Wonderland would be born!

“It’s a lot like the change of life only without the hot flashes,” a middle-aged Alice will exclaim as she unexpectedly enters the portal yet again in the midst of darning a sock in An Alice of a Certain Age by Nancy Cooper Frank. None of this is lost upon the caterpillar upon her arrival, “Madame, in your advanced state of decrepitude you’re not cut out for adventure,” to which Alice can only invariably reply, “Isn’t it time you turned into a butterfly?”  The Duchess is merely off-put by Alice’s mundane sense of servitude as she demurs the half-darned sock Alice bandies about like an antebellum bride’s fan forestalling “the vaypuhs. “Will you kindly not wave that sock in my face while we are talking?”

The Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter just wonder where Alice has gone all these years, particularly in comparison to their latest charges, in The White Rose written by Gabi Rodriguez. “What is with these little girls today?” intones the Cheshire Cat.  “‘I can’t drink that, this isn’t a speakeasy,’…and ‘I’m not going to eat that, I’m on a gluten free diet!’”

Photo Courtesy of Rochelle Perry

In Through the Looking Glass by Michael Maiello we are taken back in time from (mad hatterish) menopause, yet slightly forward from (tweedle) tweendom, as a traditionally blue-dressed, but dark-haired Alice questions her reflection in the form of the scarlet-draped, Red Queen in the mirror “When you dressed yourself this morning, didn’t you think of what I’d like to wear?” This hardly matters however as Alice can only crow about her impending wedding for which she prepares, along with anticipating the performance of the “trope of mimes we hired [now] doing vocal exercises in the garden.”  The fortunate fellow groom in question?—a tax collector named Robert. “I thought he bred Bassett Hounds.  You know how people look like their pets,” the mirrored image of the fiery queen scoffs as the two continue their jibes through vocalized chess moves.  One reflection clearly is nervous that she is getting married and the other deflection, rattled that she isn’t yet is–and did, yet didn’t–have a say in the matter!

A slightly more agreeably discordant pair in the form of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum can be witnessed in Meet the Tweedles by Eric Duhon. Played in most hilarious and gender bending fashion as two assumed straight (or gay) men by two women in significantly rotund, and roly-poly, paunchy Polichinelle costumes, the two engage us in a rehearsal within a non-rehearsal as they “rehersify” within this full-out performance. It is a most disjointed near Vaudevillian/Shakespearian sketch reminiscent of the Smothers Brothers before they ever knew to idolize Abbott and Costello or Shields and Yarnell!?

In Hard Boiled Alice, by Suzie Heaton, the heretofore psychedelic window to the rear of the set is transformed into an ambient, art deco architecture clad arena as the din or rain punctures said portal’s proverbial pane.  “It was one of those nights where you wouldn’t make a dog go out except it was afternoon,” exclaims private investigator Sam Spade (“Mr. Spade/hearts and Spade”—a reference is later made).  “What was a 12-year-old girl doing in San Francisco,” he will later convey.  As Alice makes her way into the mystery solving, man cave, she can only exclaim.  “Why do you say out loud everything you are thinking?” (Really.  And this is weird after the likes of her travels in Wonderland?)  An impromptu showdown will ensue but in whose world: Hers as she beholds his or his as she beholds his through hers? All in all an exceedingly interesting, impromptu enmeshment of existences!

Photo Courtesy of Rochelle Perry

What if the caterpillar whose job it was to “confuse every human that stumbles down the rabbit whole” (whilst rendered buzzed and confused enough himself on hookah) and felt too much pressure with the hole thing–(See what I did there?)–required a rehabilitation program/support group in order to quell his most cigarettesque cravings?:  Exactly what is explored in Toke by Marni L.B. Troop.  All we understand is that the caterpillars or rather weak-willed wiggle worms cannot hold their smokage long enough to tide themselves over for less than a day, which may very well be a lifetime in caterpillar chronology!  “It’s been 3 hours since my last smoke,” our star insect will intone.  Another will lament, “I toke on the hookah because I’ve got 600 children and they’re all silk spinners!”  Oh right, ‘cause we all know how that confounded silk chafes against the skin–and 600 kids…?  Off to Jerry Springer with ya now!!!

Of Cabbages and Kings by Natasha Troop explores what transpires betwixt the walrus and the carpenter after the end of the poem The Walrus and the Carpenter.  Hint, it is morbid and depressing and the walrus really does not seem to like the carpenter much.  Poor carpenter…  Or is that the reverse?  Hmmm…  Quite depressing if not somewhat heady.

Speaking of heady, Quit While You’re a Head by Rochelle Perry, producer extraordinaire, explores the post armageddonous exisTENSE shrouded in all manner of reminiscence of death and destruction as exacted by the heartless, but not yet headless, Queen of Hearts herself!  After having beheaded, yet freed them from the tonnage of her iron fist, everyWON in Wonderland (or is that Loserland?) only the Mad Hatter is left.  The prime question posed:  Can he persuade her to spare his life as he is the only one who can make hats for the headless in said wretch of a nation. (Though remaining characters in the forms of disembodied heads of The King, Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and The White Rabbit prattle and chatter away on the wall behind the Hatter himself as he muses out loud, “Speaking of where, what hats did they wear? And if they’d not hats to wear, they should have stopped by to see my wares!”:  A genius and classic line.  Though until reading the actual play, it want slightly over my head as an audience member.

Ideas behind most plays are fresh and original.  The only concern I had with some of them is that they felt too chatty, at the same time significantly lacking in suspense and storyline.  While it is evident that much of Carroll’s work centers around wordplay and the buoyancy found therein, you can have both.  Moreover, in nonbook form, some such wordplay was somewhat lost on the audience.

Photo Courtesy of Rochelle Perry

While still a work in progress, Curious Conversations has to be one of the best productions I have seen at the Eclectic Company Theatre.  Incumbent upon production value, set design, costuming and acting, to speak nothing of the British accents—Oh those amazing British accents, it was certainly the most colorful, plush, most high quality!  Of note, Dai Kornberg as the eccentrically erudite caterpillar, Diana Vaden as the charmingly cunning Cheshire Cat, Eugenie Trow as the moderate and matriarchal play’s host and introductress along with poetic narrator of The Walrus and the Carpenter, Adrienne Pearson as the quirky Mad Hatter, JC Henning and Nicolette Shutty as respectively quirky and earnest old and young Alices, Melanie Cruz and Marilee Moen as the bumbling Dee and Dum brothers portrayed as sisters, Tim Polzin as the candid, cool customerish Sam Spade, Nathalie Blossom as the imposing and incendiary Red Queen, and Abby Gershuny as the boldly beatific Queen of Hearts!  Costumes by Tsebahat Fiseha and Beck Van Cleve are some of the best I’ve ever seen and the set designed by Natasha Troop is positively out of this world!

http://www.laweekly.com/arts/are-you-a-die-hard-alice-in-wonderland-fan-this-might-interest-you-5634584

Are You a Die-Hard Alice in Wonderland Fan? This Might Interest You

Seann Hallisky, Carissa Gipprich, Melanie Cruz, Diana Vaden in Quit While You're a Head by Rochelle Perry

Seann Hallisky, Carissa Gipprich, Melanie Cruz, Diana Vaden in Quit While You’re a Head by Rochelle Perry
Photo by Rochelle Perry

The brainchild of writer-producer Rochelle Perry, Curious Conversations riffs on the characters and themes of Lewis Carroll. The eight one-acts, by eight playwrights, vary in quality and depth and standard of performance.

Like the material that inspired them, these plays — alternately directed by Shane Labowitz and Madelyne Heyman — cross the world of children with that of adults. The onstage hijinks are broad and colorful, but some of the ideas behind them are, as in Carroll’s books, odd and confounding.

Among the eight is Nancy Cooper Frank’s An Alice of a Certain Age, in which Alice (JC Henning), now a grandmother, makes a return voyage down the rabbit hole, where her encounters are as bizarre and bewildering as when she was a child.

In Michael Maiello’s Looking Through the Glass, a cerebral rumination on identity, an Alice of marriageable age (Nicolette Shutty) plays virtual chess with the Red Queen (Nathalie Blossom), a bewigged harridan with carrot-colored eyelashes. The stakes are Alice’s womanhood and autonomy.

Nicolette Shutty and Nathalie Blossom in Looking Through the Glass by Eric Duhon

Nicolette Shutty and Nathalie Blossom in Looking Through the Glass by Eric Duhon
Photo by Rochelle Perry

Meet the Tweedles by Eric Duhon presents Tweedle Dee (Melannie Cruz) and Tweedle Dum (Merileigh Moen) as a pair of dancing vaudevillian clowns whose bickering over the nature of their show — is it a “tragical“ history or a musical? — is sprinkled with misquotations from Shakespeare.

And Perry’s Quit While You’re a Head features Adrienne Pearson as an unctuous Mad Hatter, currying favor with the ballistic Queen of Hearts (Abby Gershuny), who has already beheaded everyone else in the kingdom.

The real star of this show is its production design. Everything takes place on Natasha Troop’s black-and-white–checkered set, whose slanting floor and bending walls make everyone who appears on the stage (including a parade of audience members traipsing to and from the bathroom) seem outsized. Added to that are the preshow videography, with its astral and firework patterns, and the vivid, imaginative costumes by Tsebahat Fiseha and Becky Van Cleve.

OUR PROMO VIDEO:

TAKEAWAY:

I learned so much! One thing was that I should avoid paying for advertisement next time because the free advertisement paid off a lot more than the paying ones!

Here’s one for instance – The Times of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/Alice-turns-150-this-year/articleshow/47708101.cms

alice-dastan

With Lewis Carroll’s fairy tale Alice In Wonderland turning 150, we go down the rabbit hole of Alice’s lasting influence today.

One-act plays in the US
Curious Conversations is a series of eight one-act plays by Rochelle Perry that riff on the characters and themes of Lewis Carroll. It premiered recently in Village Valley, Los Angeles. In Nancy Cooper Frank’s An Alice Of A Certain Age, Alice is now a grandmother and makes a return voyage down the rabbit hole. In Michael Maiello’s Looking Through The Glass, a cerebral rumination on identity, an Alice of marriageable age plays virtual chess with the Red Queen. Meet The Tweedles presents Tweedledee and Tweedledum as a pair of dancing vaudevillian clowns. Perry’s Quit While You’re A Head features Mad Hatter currying favour with the ballistic Queen of Hearts, who has already beheaded everyone else in the kingdom.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO MADE IT OUT TO SEE THE SHOW AND FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!!!!

– Rochelle Perry, Producer

CC_PromoPhoto

Photos by Rochelle Perry

We had a sold out house for opening night!  And although there were a few little bumps (there always are the first couple nights at least but they make for interesting shows, and no two shows are exactly the same) the journey down the rabbit hole was unforgettable.

We got a great response on the acting, set, costumes!  People remarked how high quality of a production it looks for a small 99-seat (41 actually) theatre.  I’m proud of each and every person who helped to make this happen – cast and crew.  I could not have done this without your talent.  And for the Indie Gogo Contributors for helping to support local theatre and the arts.  We had a little Wonderland art gallery and we had a little food to nibble on and tea to sip.  It made for a “wonder” filled night.

http://eclecticcompanytheatre.org/?portfolio=curious-conversations

http://eclecticcompanytheatre.org/blog/an-interview-with-rochelle-perry

Program:

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The Eclectic Company Theatre Presents

CURIOUS CONVERSATIONS:

8 Plays Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

and “Through the Looking Glass”

Produced by Rochelle Perry/Natasha Troop

Directed by Madelyne Heyman/Shane Labowitz

Written by Eric Duhon/Nancy Cooper Frank/Suzie Heaton/ Michael Maiello/Rochelle Perry/Gabriella Rodriguez/

Marni L. B. Troop/Natasha Troop

Associate Producers: Meghan McConnell/Adrienne Pearson

Costume Designs by Tsebahat Fiseha & Becky Van Cleve

Set Design by Natasha Troop

Lighting Design by Natasha Troop

Sound Design by Mikaela Runyan

Stage Managed by Mikaela Runyan

Graphic Design by Rochelle Perry

Poster Art by Maria Vitan

Video Editing by David Estes

Publicity by Philip Sokoloff

Web Design by Jon Mullich

 

Running Time: 110 minutes, intermission between acts

 

Warning – rated 12 and up for use of smoke/

suggested smoking and fire on stage.

ACT I

 

AN ALICE OF A CERTAIN AGE

Written by Nancy Cooper Frank, Directed by Shane Labowitz

Carissa Gipprich as the White Rabbit

JC Henning * as Older Alice

Dai Kornberg as the Caterpillar

Lisa Stanley * as the Duchess

 

THE WHITE ROSE

Written by Gabi Rodriguez, Directed by Madelyne Heyman

Adrienne Pearson as Mad Hatter

Diana Vaden as the Cheshire Cat

 

LOOKING THROUGH THE GLASS

Written by Michael Maiello, Directed by Madelyne Heyman

Nathalie Blossom * as Red Queen

Nicolette Shutty as Alice

MEET THE TWEEDLES

Written by Eric Duhon, Directed by Shane Labowitz

Melanie Cruz as Tweedle Dee

Merileigh Moen as Tweedle Dum

 

-INTERMISSION-

 

ACT II

 

HARD BOILED ALICE

Written by Suzie Heaton, Directed by Shane Labowitz

Tim Polzin * as Sam Spade

Nicolette Shutty as Alice

 

TOKE

Written by Marni L.B. Troop, Directed by Shane Labowitz

Amanda Charney as Orange

Seann Hallisky as Green

Dai Kornberg as Blue

Meghan McConnell as Pink

OF CABBAGES AND KINGS

Written by Natasha Troop, Directed by Madelyne Heyman

Tim Polzin * as the Walrus

Eugenie Trow as the Poet

Nate Werner as the Carpenter

 

QUIT WHILE YOU’RE A HEAD

Written by Rochelle Perry, Directed by Madelyne Heyman

Melanie Cruz as Tweedle Dee

Abby Gershuny as the Queen of Hearts

Carissa Gipprich as the White Rabbit

Seann Hallisky as the King

Adrienne Pearson as Mad Hatter

Diana Vaden as the Cheshire Cat

 

CAST

(in alphabetical order)

 

Nathalie Blossom * as Red Queen

Amanda Charney as Orange/Tweedle Dee understudy

Melanie Cruz as Tweedle Dee

Abby Gershuny as the Queen of Hearts

Carissa Gipprich as the White Rabbit/Tweedle Dum understudy

Seann Hallisky as Green/King

JC Henning * as Older Alice

Dai Kornberg as Blue/Caterpillar

Meghan McConnell as Pink

Merileigh Moen as Tweedle Dum

Adrienne Pearson as the Mad Hatter

Tim Polzin * as Sam Spade/Walrus

Nicolette Shutty as Alice

Lisa Stanley * as the Duchess

Diana Vaden as the Cheshire Cat

Eugenie Trow as Voice/Poet/the Duchess understudy

Nate Werner as the Carpenter

 

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, The Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

WRITERS

Eric Duhon (writer, Meet the Tweedles) is delighted to have his work featured among such fun and challenging pieces at Curious Conversations. He graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA with a degree in Performance and Directing in Theatre. Past writing credits include: Cradle of Life (Slidell Little Theatre), I Know (F.U.D.G.E Theatre Co.), Master Class (Fury Theatre), and Garcon (The Arc Theatre).

Nancy Cooper Frank (writer, An Alice of a Certain Age) Recent plays include the lighthearted tragedy Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs (staged readings: 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference; Virago Theatre Company’s New Plays Series in Oakland CA); The Plumber (First Place Winner, FirstStage LA’s National One-Act Contest, 2014; San Francisco Fringe, in “Best of Fringe”-voted show Assorted Domestic Emergencies; 2014 Arundel Theatre Trail in the UK); The Announcement (2015 Little Black Dress INK ONstage Female Playwrights Festival). For the 365 Women A Year project, Nancy is currently writing a play about the tumultuous friendship between Catherine the Great and Princess Catherine Dashkova, first female head of a national science academy. Nancy lives in San Francisco.

Suzie Heaton (writer, Hard Boiled Alice) has always been an actress who knew how to write but really didn’t pursue the writing part. She wrote poetry and kids stories when she was a kid. She went through a crazy sketch comedy stage where everything she wrote was SNL-ish. And now she is really into writing plays. She is currently working on three (yes you heard me-THREE FULL LENGTH PLAYS). She is thrilled to be a part of the Alice plays-and sends a shout out to all film noir fans.
Michael Maiello (writer, Looking Through the Glass) is a New York based columnist, performer, fiction author and playwright. He is the author of Shuts & Failures, Rejected New Yorker Pieces (Also Rejected by McSweeney’s!). He worked for ten years at Forbes Media, writing and editing for both Forbes Magazine and Forbes.com. He has performed stand up comedy at The Laugh Factory, The Comic Strip and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Mama D’s Arts Bordello and The Lost and Found Show. He has had four plays published (Night of Faith and Waiting For Death by Playscripts.com; Principia and Troy! Troy! Troy! by The New York Theatre xperience/indietheaternow.) He has written for The Daily, The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Reuters, Esquire, McSweeney’s the Liar’s League reading series and theNewerYork.

Rochelle Perry (producer/writer, Quit While You’re a Head) has been a playwright since 2008. She’s workshopped with such groups as East West Players, Theatre of Note, Write Act Repertory Theatre, Lisa Soland’s All Original Playwrights, and most recently FirstStage. Some of her produced plays include The Tell Tale Cat, When Charlie Comes Home, White Horse, and Japan 1946 Meets California 2010, which received rave reviews. She completed her Certificate in Creative Writing from UCLA and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights. Her comedy play Velma and Manny was recently published with Original Works. She’s worked in the Animation Industry since 2005 and loves bringing an artistic flair to anything that she produces in theatre.

Gabriella (Gabi) Rodriguez (writer, The White Rose) is a freshman in college and is working on her AA in Sequential Art. She spent most of her High School career hiding backstage or in the sound booth of the Theatre Department, but this is the first time since graduation that she’s been lured back to the stage. She has one wrinkly, four legged child, and takes inspiration from sugar skulls, Celtic knots, and ghost stories. When she’s not doing homework, she’s drawing, writing, or being really, really bad at video games while listening to silly comedy bands.

Marni L. B. Troop (writer, Toke) has been a writer, editor, and story consultant for authors, academics, and scriptwriters for over twenty years. A member of the prestigious Coronet Writer’s Lab, she is currently working on several feature scripts and television pilots, one of which made the second round of Austin Film Festival’s Original 1-Hour Pilot competition in 2013. By day, she serves as English faculty at various colleges and crochets scarves while planning her next culinary experiment to unleash on her family. By night, she is an avid viewer of supernatural and fantasy dramas, really smart sit coms, and cooking shows hosted by Gordon Ramsey (should Ramsey ever host a witty supernatural cooking show, she’ll be all over that!). Marni loves all things Gaelic, Autumn, freaking people out with her tarot cards, and engaging in discussions about quantum physics… and English toffee.

Natasha Troop (producer, set design, writer, Of Cabbages and Kings) is currently the president of ECT. Most recently, she designed lights for Spoon River: Cemetery on the Hill, produced Something Something New Vagina, and produced & directed So You Want to be a Vampire at ECT in 2014. This summer she will be producing & directing Richard III. She has also stage managed numerous plays here at ECT and a great number of L.A. area theatres including The Fountain, Theatre West, The Odyssey and The Actors’ Gang. By day, she is finishing her 10th year as a high school Theatre Arts and Film teacher. She is also a member of the Horror Writers’ Association and has written three novels in her horror series, The Lakebridge Cycle, and will be publishing the fourth by the end of 2015.

DIRECTORS

Madelyn Heyman (director) is thrilled to be directing again here at the Eclectic Company Theatre! She directed two one acts for last year’s “Eclect-a-Fest,” and since then hasn’t been able to stay away. Madelyne has directed a wide variety of work from plays (Go Back For Murder), to musicals (Avenue Q, Spring Awakening, Grease), to her own original work (Semi Darkness: A Twilight Parody, Damn You Autocaress, Apocalypticality). Madelyne has always been fascinated by Alice in Wonderland and she enjoyed bringing that fascination to these fresh interpretations. In her spare time she loves to play the ukulele and grow herbs indoors.

Shane Labowitz (director) is a Los Angeles native, born and raised in Tarzana, California. Though he has never read the Tarzan series, he enjoyed the cartoon until he grew a distaste for Phil Colins. Shane studied film at San Francisco State University and has since used his overwhelming and vast knowledge of the craft of screenwriting to write sketches that mainly consists of weird bizarre stuff and fart jokes. At SFSU he directed a one act and wrote several short plays and made his thesis film entitled Eleven. By day he films videos of toys and talks about them for an online toy company and by night he is a stand-up comedian/Batman/netflix binger.

ACTORS

Nathalie Blossom * (Red Queen) Commercials paid the bills, film offered prestige, but the stage is where the heart is fulfilled. From Malibu to North Hollywood, whether it’s directing or acting, Nathalie Wonders where she’ll Land next. In the meantime, there are chickens, a three-legged dog, husband, son and his gal, all lending their endless love and support. Thank you. And thanks to everyone at The Eclectic Theatre! Life is good.

Amanda Charney (Orange/Tweedle Dee Understudy) is excited for her first show with the Eclectic Company Theater! A recent graduate of the USC School of Dramatic Arts (SDA) and a life-long performer, some of her favorite performances include Avenue Q with Little Table Theater (Kate Monster), and The American Clock with USC’s SDA. She was classically trained at the British American Drama Academy (BADA) in London, where she appeared in a production of The Eumenides and deepened her anglophilia. A Beach Cities native, Amanda grew up in dance classes, music lessons, and musicals. She is passionate about crafting, Shakespeare, and travel adventures. Many thanks to the incredible family andfriends that she is unimaginably lucky to have surrounding her. More at amandacharney.com and @thatcharneygirl.

Melanie Cruz (Tweedle Dee) is a Colorado native who has traveled to four of the seven continents, including a year-long stint at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. She studied English and Theatre at Barnard College in New York. Stage highlights include Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Coonass Blooze in the world premiere of How Katrina Plays, the vagina workshop monologue in The Vagina Monologues at the DGA and the title character in Goodbye Marilyn: A Love Letter. TV/Film highlights include House M.D., Big Love, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thursday’s Speaker. Find out more at www.melaniecruz.com.

Abby Gershuny (Queen of Hearts) is a recent LA transplant from the New York acting scene where one of her favorite roles was a feisty zombie in an Off-Broadway play. Abby has a BFA in musical theater from The Hartt School conservatory in CT. Favorite roles are Katisha in The Mikado, Dolly in Annie Get Your Gun, and Martha in Secret Garden. She is excited to be playing the Queen of Hearts in her first West Coast play, and is looking forward to chopping off some heads this season. Love you Mommy.
Carissa Gipprich (White Rabbit) migrated from Pennsylvania to study theatre and music at Pepperdine University and has since been actively involved in the LA performing arts scene. She has also been trained at the Stella Adler Studio in NYC as well as the Upright Citizens Brigade in LA. As a proud member of the Eclectic Company Theatre, Carissa is excited to be involved this season in Curious Conversations as well as Richard III. You can also witness her comedic chops performing with the resident improv troupe, Weird on Top.
Seann Hallisky (Green Caterpillar/King of Hearts) is proud to be making his first appearance on the Los Angeles stage after leaving a successful high tech law career in Seattle. He moved to LA in November of 2014 to pursue his passion for acting in theater, film and television. Seann studies the Meisner technique with John Ruskin at the Ruskin School of Acting and hones his comedy improve skills at the Groundlings School. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from La Salle University and a J.D. from The Notre Dame Law School. Seann is a snowboarder, juggler, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and Yogi, and as his friends will attest, a creative and talented chef. He lives in West Hollywood and is grateful for the opportunity to pursue his dreams of travelling the world and working with extraordinary people.

JC Henning* (Older Alice, “Alice of A Certain Age”) (AEA, SAG-AFTRA, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences): JC trained at the British American Acting Academy in London and has performed in over 100 stage productions. Her many TV and film credits include Elga in the ABC-BBC co-production The Story of David starring Keith Michell and Jane Seymour. JC has performed in over 40 productions with The Los Angeles Opera, New York City Opera, ABT and the Kirov Ballet.
Dai Kornberg (Caterpillar/Blue Caterpillar) is SAG-AFTRA/AEA and a former Associate Member of the WGAw. He has appeared Off-Broadway in The Elephant Man (Equity Library Theater), as the Goat Boy on The Amanda Show, Clown and Attendant on Rugrats, The Singing Slasher on The Morton Downey Jr. Show, Police Office Teddy Janczewski on America’s Most Wanted, and a Tom Snyder puppet voice on The Tomorrow Show. He has worked with John Leguizamo, James Avery, Chris Rock, Dave Attell, Terrence Howard, Robin Givens, Amanda Bynes, Andy Kaufman, Tom Snyder, Rich Little, Tony Shalhoub, etc. He is madeentirely out of wood chips.

Meghan McConnell is ecstatic to be acting in Curious Conversations. This is the first mainstage production she has performed in since she was 8 months pregnant…three years ago. She is a very active member of the Eclectic working in various capacities at the theatre, including making the best cookies ever for our monthly variety show, tinyDANGEROUSfun! LA. EVER!

Merileigh Moen (Tweedle Dum) goes by many names: Merrily Mowin’ the Lawn, Mer-MOE, Mary-Jane, Mary Swanson, HER?, Bobley Pardon, GRAN’-MA, “That one who works like a MAN,” the Lady with the bloody nose at Trader Joe’s, a “pretty girl, when she’s not makin’ all those STUPID faces”…but TODAY, Mer is proud to call herself Tweedle-Dum, and OH-so grateful to be in the company of such inspired storytellers! When she’s not writing, drawing or rehearsing for various funny projects, she is likely canoodling with senior citizens, basking in the wonder of nature, or raising a glass: TO LOVE!

Adrienne Pearson (Mad Hatter) is a proud member of the Eclectic Company Theatre and is excited to be involved with such a spectacular production, with amazing people. She was last seen in her self produced film Balloons. Her other world consists of being the lead singer of L.A. based death rock/ punk band Readership Hostile.

Tim Polzin * (Sam Spade/ Walrus) is delighted to be working in his debut with the Eclectic Company Theatre in this production. Tim is originally from Marshalltown, Iowa, and received his BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa. Other Los Angeles Credits include: Snow Queen (Fremont Centre Theatre),U.S.S. Pinafore & All in the Timing (Crowne City Theatre), Guys & Dolls (Musical Theatre West), Annie Get Your Gun and Scarlet Pimperel (Cabrillo Music Theatre), Anything Goes, Annie, The Music Man (Music Theatre of Southern California), Dames at Sea, Dr. Faustus, Antigone, Julius Caesar (The Knightsbridge Theatre), Henry V (Pasadena Shakespeare Company), Macbeth (Loft Ensemble Los Angeles), Comedy Errors, As You Like It (Nevada Shakespeare in the Park), Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and Pericles (The Globe Playhouse.)

Nicolette Shutty is thrilled to join the cast of Curious Conversations. A Chicago native some of her favorite roles there included Penelope in The Odyssey (Lookingglass Theatre) and Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden (Metropolis Theatre). Moving to California she began her film career landing the lead in Corollary. Other film credits include Justice for All 2 and Party Killer amongst others. Thanks to friends, family, and teachers for all your support. Nicolette is represented by the Daniel Hoff Agency.
Lisa Stanley * has appeared on numerous television shows, including: Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Nip/Tuck, E.R., West Wing, to name a few. Besides being an actress, she is a professional singer and is part of two incredible bands: The Wonderelles, a 50s/60s music revue and Make Mine Acoustic, a 3-part harmony trio with guitars. She runs the successful Dickens-style Christmas caroling company, The Voices of Christmas. Lisa is a proud member of Actors’ Equity, SAG & AFTRA. Love to her husband Neal and her doggie children, Bella, Lucy & Luna. A huge “thank you” to her agents at FCTA.

Eugenie Trow (Voice/Poet) is a playwright and actress. Acting credits include Mother Teresa in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Back Alley Theatre); Bella in Big Love, and Woman 1 in Play (Antelope Valley College Black Box Theatre). Her plays Caution: Bees Flying and Listen to the Holes have had workshop productions at the Actor’s Group Theatre; Waste Not had a workshop production at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. She co-authored the book Colors of the Heart, with her plays and poetry and visual artwork by Rich Sim. She teaches theatre and math at Antelope Valley College. (Dramatists Guild, Alliance of L.A. Playwrights)

Diana Vaden (Cheshire Cat) is thrilled to be performing in this witty and whimsical production with Eclectic Company Theatre. She received her BA degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Southern California. Recent credits include: West Side Story (San Diego Musical Theater); Chicago and Hairspray (Royal Caribbean Productions); and the Disney Bollywood film Any Body Can Dance 2 to be released later this year. She is also a creative nonfiction writer and a poet – her work can be found at www.thediwrights.wordpress.com. God Bless.

Nate Werner (Carpenter) is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts and has had the opportunity to play a number of characters ranging from Nicky in Avenue Q, to a kindly old southern woman in Animal Stories, to Drunk Hamlet in the Magnolia Theatre’s Drunk Hamlet. This is his first production with the Eclectic Company Theatre and he looks forward to more productions with the Company in the future.

* Member of one or more of the 4-A performing arts unions

COSTUMES

Tsebahat Fiseha is an Artist/ Designer from Los Angeles. She majored in Animation Arts at Woodbury University, which she earned a B.F.A. She later earned an M.F.A. in Visual Development from Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Tsebahat has worked on various projects ranging from fashion shows, commercials to film. She is currently working on a short film. http://artoftsebahat.weebly.com/

Becky van Cleve is a Costume Designer for both stop-motion animation and live action. She is the Head of the Costume Department for Stoopid Buddy Stoodios on such shows as the Emmy Award winning Robot Chicken and L Studio’s Friendship Allstars of Friendship. She has also designed costumes for the short films Losing Ferguson and How to be a Female Director. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Her full portfolio can be seen at www.beckyvancleve.com

VIDEO EDITOR/PROMOS

David Estes began editing and creating visual effects in 2001 in his home state of Iowa. He moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to pursue a full time career in the industry. He has worked on various films, TV shows and theater/live presentations, on both animated and live-action projects. He currently works at Cartoon Network and his past work includes projects for Disney and DreamWorks.

LITERARY COMMITTEE

Alice Wethington is a hot mess from Kentucky and her dream is to be able to live on Wonderland Dr. (Just not in THAT house).  She got bit by the acting bug in middle school, pursued an acting degree from the University of Kentucky in 2003, and of course, now works at a Private Ambulance company in the Valley.  She has appeared in a Norms commercial, an episode of “Murder by the Book” and she even lost on “Trivial Pursuit America Plays”.  She has been working with ECT on and off for several years and is currently the VP of Membership for the company. She Loves Pinterest and she is single!

POSTER DESIGN

Maria Vitan

PROP BUILDER

Patrick Coy

WEB DESIGNER

Jon Mullich

 

PUBLICIST

Philip Sokoloff is Los’ Angeles most active theatre publicist, annually representing over 100 live attractions and several dozen independent feature films annually. Also an actor, he appears in the upcoming feature film The Bandit Hound.

GROUP SALES

Thomas Prosser

ectgroupsales@gmail.com

310- 626-5532

http://eclecticcompanytheatre.org/

– CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS TO THE WONDERLAND ART GALLERY –

Lindsay Garber, Sarah Gencarelli, Eva Gelbart, Sefra Orlick,

Brandon Swofford, Dota Sata, Hyeon I Son, Mehuli Shah,

Jay Shultz, MZ Runyan, Rochelle Perry

(If you would like to purchase any of the artwork, please speak to the front of house manager or one of the producers, and they would be happy to sell it to you. For many of these, prints are also available on request.)

 

A NOTE FROM WRITER/PRODUCER ROCHELLE PERRY

 

I had taken a 3-year hiatus from theatre (and writing in general), when I read Lewis Carroll’s original Alice stories. I immediately fell in love with his wordplay, his quirky sense of humor, and his charming characters. Oh, the characters! They inspired me to write — and ultimately produce — again. I knew from the beginning it was an ambitious project to stage. The costumes and set alone were an undertaking that both attracted me and scared me at the same time, but I welcomed this project as an incredible opportunity for my love of visual arts and my love of theatre to merge. Since working in the animation industry for over a decade, it’s no “wonder” that this whimsical tale coupled with my passion for storytelling would escalate to what we know as Curious Conversations today. I wrote my first Alice play in Lisa Soland’s playwright workshop last year. There, I met some wonderfully supportive playwrights who helped me workshop that first play and while I have since discarded that atrocity into a pile of other rubbish I wrote, I wrote this play, Quit While You’re A Head, in a couple hours. Because deadlines are important. But so are headlines, aren’t they? I wanted to write something worthy of other people writing about. A few of the playwrights in that workshop enthusiastically threw themselves at this project, and I thank them for helping me make this happen and for being a part of it. While I searched for a home for Curious Conversations, I happened across the Eclectic Company Theatre, and for the past 8 months that I have been here, I’ve been amazed by the people and their dedication to keeping theatre alive in Los Angeles. “This is a place to produce your passion project,” I heard someone say during the first meeting I attended. My ears perked up; I was intrigued. I joined right away, and I am so fortunate to the people and this theatre for giving me this chance to dive back into that little piece of my soul and just make this happen. There’s something magical about seeing your words come to life onstage. And really, who doesn’t love Wonderland? For generations people have created their own rendition of Lewis Carroll’s tales, so why couldn’t I? I put a call out to writers around the country, chose the 8 best plays with the literary committee, workshopped these plays with a staged reading, rewrote and polished. I saw my own play evolving from a comedic play with 2 characters to a darkly comedic play with 6 characters. I am happy with the outcome, and proud to have produced such a collection of plays in such limited time with such talented people. Huge thanks to all those who have encouraged me with this project over the last few months, even when I wanted to “quit while I was ahead (or behind).” And to the theatre, cast and crew of this production, my wonderful friends who have shared their talents to help make this a reality, my husband Patrick, my family, and to you for coming to see the fruits of our labor: May you always remember that childlike wonder you once had, and never stop following your dreams. We hope you enjoy your journey through Wonderland and behind the Looking Glass!

– Rochelle

Special Thanks

The producers would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions.

– INDIE GOGO –

Meghan McConnell, Lindsay Garber, David Garber, Patrick Coy,

Kelly Kidwell and family, Max Haghighi, Thomas Misuraca,

Carolyn Blais, Diane Chernansky, James Epps, Andrew McConnell, Cynthia Yee and Oliver Akuin, Jon Mullich, Kerri Christie, Emily Donn, Seann Hallisky, Gene DeJoie, Meredith Lockwood, Laura Lee Bahr, Sue Bisbee, Nathalie Blossom, Thomas Prosser, Brian Robillard, Candice Leon, Eugenie Trow, Karen Zumsteg

 

– FUNDRAISERS/READINGS –

 

David Datz, Leggy Lass Greenleaf, Diane Chernansky, Travis Beck, Merileigh Moen, Natasha Troop, David Nott, Brandy Snifter,

Carolyn Blais, Kerr Lordygan, Joy Regullano, Dai Kornberg, Jon Mullich,

Ian C. Hopps, Carissa Gipprich, Marbry Steward, JC Henning

 

– PROPS/COSTUMES –

 

Nathalie Blossom, Lisa Stanley, Amanda Charney, Thomas Prosser,

Timothy Sprague, Dai Kornberg, Jon Mullich, Madelyne Heyman,

Shane Labowitz, Adrienne Pearson, Seann Hallisky, Abby Gershuny,

Tim Polzin, Carissa Gipprich, Jen Stavish, Season Mustful, Melissa Piekaar

Our EXTRAORDINARY CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM!

and others, too numerous to mention.

 

And huge thanks to Splash Entertainment for sponsoring this program!

*******

Eclectic Thoughts: http://eclecticcompanytheatre.org/blog/an-interview-with-rochelle-perry

by Thomas Prosser

ECT’s current production Curious Conversations opened Friday, May 29th. The program ties eight short plays by resident and guest writers inspired by Lewis Carroll’s works, Alice’s Adventure’s In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. Rochelle Perry is the co-producer and one of the contributing playwrights in this delightful program with her very punny piece, Quit While You’re A Head. I sat down this past week and chatted with her about the show.

Tell us a bit about how you came to this project, Curious Conversations.

Rochelle Perry

I had taken a 3-­year hiatus from theatre (and writing in general), when I read Lewis Carroll’s original Alice stories. I immediately fell in love with his wordplay, his quirky sense of humor, and his charming characters. Oh, the characters! They inspired me to write and ultimately produce again. I knew from the beginning it was an ambitious project to stage. The costumes and set alone were an undertaking that both attracted me and scared me at the same time, but I welcomed this project as an incredible opportunity for my love of visual arts and my love of theatre to merge. Since working in the animation industry for over a decade, it’s no “wonder” that this whimsical tale coupled with my passion for storytelling would escalate to what we know as Curious Conversations today. I wrote my first Alice play in Lisa Soland’s playwright workshop last year. There, I met some wonderfully supportive playwrights who helped me workshop that first play and while I have since discarded that atrocity into a pile of other rubbish I wrote, I wrote this play, Quit While You’re A Head, in a couple hours, because deadlines are important. But so are headlines, aren’t they? I wanted to write something worthy of other people’s time in writing about a topic that inspired them and captivated them as I was. A few of the playwrights in that workshop enthusiastically threw themselves at this project, and I thank them for helping me make this happen and for being a part of it. While I searched for a home for Curious Conversations, I happened across the Eclectic Company Theatre, and for the past 8 months that I have been here, I’ve been amazed by the people and their dedication to keeping theatre alive in Los Angeles. “This is a place to produce your passion project,” I heard someone say during the first meeting I attended. My ears perked up; I was intrigued. I joined right away, and I am so fortunate to the people and this theatre for giving me this chance to dive back into that little piece of my soul and just make this happen. There’s something magical about seeing your words come to life onstage. And really, who doesn’t love Wonderland?

So what is Curious Conversations about?

There is eight different plays written by eight different writers, so each play (roughly 10-­‐minutes each in length) tells a new tale in each writer’s unique voice. Being a writer myself, I wanted to give other writers an opportunity to write something based on these beloved characters.

Is there a connecting theme that running through the eight mini plays?

The connecting theme is showing an older Alice returning to Wonderland rewinding to show her child-­‐like wonder of Wonderland, and also the madness involved. Reality and what is in the mind blends together. The fine line between sanity and madness is but one theme one could draw from these plays.

How does Curious Conversations differ from Alice In Wonderland?

This is a new spin on the classic characters. It’s sort of like a sit-­‐com, where we see what happens one day in the life of the Hatter, Walrus and the Carpenter after their poem. Think of it as a sequel.

What are some of the characters appearing in the plays?

Many are characters we know and love like the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, the Tweedles, the Caterpillars, and of course Alice herself. One play steps out of Wonderland for a moment (or does it?) with Film Noir detective, Sam Spade.

Do you think today’s political landscape is similar to the insanity about what Lewis Carroll wrote about?

Melanie Cruz and Merileigh Moen as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Although women and minorities have come a long way since his time, there is still much oppression in the world. I think there always will be a degree of insane politics, and like everything else they change with time. A couple of these plays focus on Alice, now a woman, struggling with which role to play in society (much like when she played different roles in chess, through the looking glass.) Is she to play the typical role of a woman -­‐ a domesticated and obedient wife? Alice is a strong woman, fighting the norms of society whether she is ridiculed or not. And even though the role of a woman today is blurred with the freedom to choose who she wants to be (at least here in America) she still face obstacles, and she still isn’t entirely equal to man. With so many extra duties women have taken on, it’s no wonder why she would want to leave it all, if even for a moment. But at least she does have her mind to choose to go to Wonderland, or to stay in the real world, harsh as it is.

Talk about costumes in play.

Our talented Tsebahat Fiseha and Becky van Cleve created the costumes. They are both professionals working in the industry. They each referenced different Alice films and books, especially Tenniel’s drawings, but made them their own. The costumers were prudent in considering the character first while designing them. They are colorful and fun, and pay tribute to characters we know and love.

What is the take away you’d like audiences to have after seeing show?

I’d like the audience to “experience” going through the rabbit hole, and taking them into Wonderland and behind the Looking Glass. There will be artwork by animation artists on the walls, and when they sit down to watch, they will be entertained by the wonder of Wonderland, from the costumes, to the set, to the very characters themselves. I’d hope that they take away the wonder and delight that is in their own lives (not merely their imaginations), and I hope they’d want to return to see it again and share this experience with their friends.

Final Thoughts?

For generations people have created their own rendition of Lewis Carroll’s tales, so why couldn’t I? I put a call out to writers around the country, chose the 8 best plays with the literary committee, workshopped these plays with a staged reading, rewrote and polished them. I saw my own play evolving from a comedic play with 2 characters to a darkly comedic play with 6 characters. I am happy with the outcome, and proud to have produced such a collection of plays in such limited time with such talented people. Huge thanks to all those who have encouraged me with this project over the last few months, even when I wanted to “quit while I was ahead (or behind).” And to the theatre, cast and crew of this production, my wonderful friends who have shared their talents to help make this a reality, my husband Patrick, my family, and to those of you for coming to see the fruits of our labor: May you always remember that childlike wonder you once had, and never stop following your dreams. We hope you enjoy your journey through Wonderland and behind the Looking Glass!

Thomas Prosser heads ECT Group Sales and can be contacted at etcgroupsales@gmail.com

AliceInWonderland_poster3-01
As many of you are aware, I am producing 8 ten minute plays based on the world of Alice in Wonderland.  It’s called CURIOUS CONVERSATIONS, and will be making its world premiere on May 29th-June 28th (Fri/Sat/Sun) at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village.  I hope you can make it to the show.
I just launched my first ever campaign on Indie Gogo, and hope you can support it.  For only $25 you get a free ticket to the show (guaranteed seating!) And there are a number of other fabulous perks like jewelry, t-shirts, artwork, and even a pass to Disneyland!
CLICK HERE to support Curious Conversations – the Wonderland Plays
We’ve been working with a lot of other artists who are super excited about this show, and we hope to share it with you and the rest of the world which is why this campaign is so important to us.  Watch our video, (laugh at me!), and donate to this event that we have been working so hard to put together.  What would the world be without art and entertainment?  Pretty bleak, if you ask me!  So please donate and also share with your friends and tell them about the show!  We want a sold out house every night, great reviews, and an extended run.  And we can’t do this without your help!
Cheers!

Check it out!!! Only $1.99 to download!

http://www.originalworksonline.com/eTens

On Feb 15th we had a reading of 8 of the plays I’m producing at the Eclectic Company Theatre in May.

Overall it went really well! We had some great actors and audience feedback. The writers are busy rewriting, and we have two directors, Shane and Madelyn, who will each be directing 4 plays.

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It’s always great for writers to hear their words read aloud.  It gives some clarity as to what works and what doesn’t work.  I’m rewriting mine to incorporate a few more of the actors from the other plays.  Overall it’s gonna be a fun run!

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/curiousconversations

And keep up to date with our website: http://curiousconversations.weebly.com

Lots of people, lots of laughs, lots of funds raised for Theatre of Note.  If you missed it, too bad!  Well, I do have a link to the video if you wanna see it.  Let me know.  And thanks to all who did make it out.

After the show we went out to St. Felix which has an awesome happy hour and I recommend it to anyone who’s in the area.-1 -2 -3

Thanks again to my wonderful actors and director, and of course, the man who inspired the play – my hubby Patrick!

20th_Hollywood Performance Marathon Flier

It’s already been a busy year.  I heard from Wendi at Theatre of Note just before New Year’s Eve that they would love for me to put up another play.  So I rummaged through various plays that would suit this event, and I scrambled to find my actors.  The hardest to find was a guy who looks like Jesus (which spawned plenty of Jesus jokes: “If Jesus is everywhere, why can’t I find him?”, “Where is he when you need him?, and “What Would Jesus Do?”)  Anyway, I workshopped the play at FirstStage’s writing workshops on Monday nights at the Avery Shreiber Playhouse in NoHo.  (It’s free for the month of January so I thought to give it a shot.)  Sort of like kismet since I’m looking to continue workshopping and I love meeting fellow writers.  I got a lot of laughs and Gene DeJoie, a writer/director/actor himself, gave me some really great notes and tips.  I asked him if he’d be interested in helping direct it, and he accepted the challenge, and to him I am very grateful.  So only one rehearsal in and we’re going up this Saturday, January 17th at 6pm.

Here’s me taking on social media and spreading the word:

Please come and show your support to Theatre of Note by coming out to this incredible fundraising event! It’s their 20th year and it’s sure to be a blast! My comedy play “The Color Yellow” will be going up around 6pm! One day only! I have so many talented actors in my piece: Carolyn Blais, Christina Martinez, Dan Heber, and Paul Yen directed by Gene DeJoie. So please be there to laugh and have a great time, and let’s go out for eats and drinks afterwards!

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