Well, Alice officially opened this weekend. In fact, it is already 1/6 of the way finished. Just like that.
I am so very proud of this show.
As I watched people walk through the neighborhood following their bunnies, I was delighted to see that almost 100% of them seemed to be wearing perma-smiles. A nice couple from New York spoke to me at length on the street. They said that they are avid theater goers and that they had seen, and enjoyed, Sleep No More in NYC but that they were pretty sure Alice is better…and they couldn’t believe this was opening weekend…and the woman asked if she could put it all down in writing for me to share. I hope she does!
Flitting from tour to tour, speaking to artists between performances, I happened to walk behind a couple of 20-something girls on Emmy’s tour. Heavily tattooed and way too cool to be gushing openly about theater on the street, one of them turned to her friend and said “My mind is BLOWN. This is all just TOO MUCH!”
Those smiles, those conversations, made me proud.
I’m proud of the work of these artists – numbering over 50 on any given day – who are dedicated to the purpose of creating art and magic and whimsy. Alice is joyful. It’s a celebration at every turn.
On Saturday, I sat on a bench out of sight and listened to the white rabbits performing their final monologues. Beautiful. Perfect theater makes you laugh one moment, gasp the next, and get a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye at some point along the way. Alice does all of those things. And I’m not tooting my own horn when I write this. The artists did that. They all created their own pieces. Everything at the table was brought by the artists and it is a bounty. I merely set up the table and asked them to join me. (Now, am I tooting my own horn when I tell you that I am a master in the art of inviting the right people to the table? Yes. I’ll take credit for that much. I sent the emails and made the phone calls).
But I think the moment that made me most proud came on Saturday afternoon near the end of the final chapter on the final tour. Phil’s group was watching Sid and Amanda at Jameson Loves Danger and Sophisticated Cornbread were waiting at the southwest corner of Clark and Foster to take over with Chapter 12. Bills (the street ambience people) were roaming about nearby. A man on a bicycle had what looked to be a seizure while riding across the intersection. He fell from his bike…hard…and landed, unconscious and twisted, in the middle of the intersection. Sophisticated Cornbread all immediately ran into the street, surrounded his body, and began directing traffic while also calling 911.
Members of the Alice cast spoke with police, gave eye-witness reports, and even had the wherewithal to lock the bike up in an office in the theater so that he can get it when he recovers. Greg Allen heard from his wife today, he is up and about and will fully recover. I think he owes a lot to some quick-thinking slam poets.
Phil intercepted his group, explained that there had been an accident, and rerouted them straight back to the theater. Once there, he abandoned his final monologue for an impromptu reflection on the frailty of life and the importance of living in the moment, holding your loved ones a little tighter, and finding the magic that is all around us.
Their behavior – all of them – was heroic.
So I’m proud of the art and I’m proud of the humans behind the art and I’m proud of the audiences who have been completely game and downright enthusiastic about the whole show and I’m proud of the wonderful business owners who trust us with their spaces and their customers.
I hope you come and see these amazing people in this show. You have 5 weekends left.