ALICE IN WONDERLAND (the Manhattan Project version) Creative

Peter Green
Carin Zakes

Original Creative Team

A young Andre Gregory

Andre Gregory, famed actor and director, has been and remains a phenomenal presence in the culture of American theatre.

Born in Paris in 1934, to Russian Jewish parents, Gregory came to the United States at the age of five, on the cusp of World War II. After completion of his studies at Harvard University, Gregory began his immersion in the theatrical world with a job at the Brussels World’s Fair, in 1958.Arguably, Gregory’s most influential contribution to American theatre remains the Manhattan Project’s 1970 production of Alice in Wonderlandderived from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

The play was formed through an improvisation period lasting many months. The end result was a theatrical marvel: the actors, prompted to create the world of Wonderland as though they were “[…] a group of children limited to a padded cell,” performed impressive physical feats, forming the caterpillar and his mushroom from their bodies, creating towers from stacks of chairs, and inflating and shrinking themselves considerably.



Savage ‘Alice in Wonderland’

It would be appropriate, for‐ blood is Mr. Gregory's and his company's message for the season. Mr. Gregory and his company—and let me name them here, now and gotten‐over with, Gerry Barn man, Tom Costello, Saskia Noorhoek Hegt, Jerry Mayer, Angela Pietropinto and Larry Pine—are offering us a nur sery tale for a savage nursery. It has a fire and beauty. It shows Lewis Car roll—the whimsical mathema tician in need of psychiatric help and in love with a shrewdly twisted adult's view of childhood. It shows Lewis Carroll. It is an evening that is both funny and terrifying.

This caustic tale has a magic that leaves you grin ning but speechless. It is the topsy‐turvy logic of Alice, its gladiator battle with seman tics and its perfectly horrify ing fairy‐tale realism, that gives this evening its strange ly anarchic flavor.

The play—is it a play?— becomes an exposé of Lewis Carroll. The words used—at least for the most part and, if I had to bet, I would say entirely—all come from Car roll. But Mr. Gregory takes them at their face value, listens to them as an amiable psychiatrist might listen to a favorite patient, and from them constructs a house of words, full of fun, terror and agony.