By Adam Hetrick
22 Jun 2012
Inspired by Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the rock musical is reset within a darker historical context that brings a sense of urgency to the tale that explores leaving childhood behind.
Alice By Heart, which is set in London, is being staged as part of the National Theatre's Connections program that unites youth theatres across the U.K. The National annually commissions ten writers to create short works for youth companies to perform around the U.K. Sheik and Sater were approached to pen an abbreviated version of Alice By Heart, which they had been developing over the past several years.
Over 30 theatre companies in the program chose to stage Alice By Heart, and productions began rolling out throughout the U.K. in March. Executives at the National were able to attend the performances, and along with Sater and Sheik, selected one troupe to perform the work in London on June 25.
Young performers from the Flying High Theatre Company will present their 60-minute version of Alice By Heart, staged by Carrie Bird. The presentation at the National's Lyttelton Theatre will be the culmination of the five-day long Connections Festival, which launched June 20.
The authors, who are currently in rehearsals for their new musical The Nightingale at the La Jolla Playhouse, are planning to fly to London for the June 25 performance of Alice By Heart.
Sater and Sheik are hopeful that Alice By Heart, in its full 90-minute version, will have a professional London run in the near future, followed by a commercial life in New York.
Here's how the National characterizes Alice By Heart: "How do we leave childhood behind? How do we close the book when the world around us has gone mad with arbitrary rules? In the throes of adolescence, determined Alice Parsley convinces her seriously ailing friend Alfred to follow her one last time 'Down the Hole' and play White Rabbit to her childhood heroine. Mad as it all is, there's so much she still wants from him. And yet, how late it's getting!"