NJ Rep Presents ALICE THROUGH THE CAMERA LENS 2/11-3/21/2010
While Johnny Depp portrays the Mad Hatter on movie screens around the world this winter, Lewis Carroll, the conflicted creator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, will be on stage at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, fighting passionately to be known not as a children's author but as Charles Dodgson, the greatest portrait photographer in the British Empire. Standing in his way is the larger-than-life and now tragically forgotten Julia Margaret Cameron, who was the Annie Leibovitz of her day and a constant thorn in Dodgson's side. The real Alice will be there as well, trying to sort out her complex relationship with Dodgson, along with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the Victorian Idol of a society that worshiped its poets like rock stars. The world premiere of Exposure Time runs from February 11 through March 21, with an Opening Night performance and High Tea on Saturday, February 13.
It may seem absurd in our world of instantaneous everything that the painstakingly slow process of wet collodion photography was the 19th-century equivalent of the personal computing revolution, raising the same fever of promise and controversy. Was it art or science? Would it change the world for better or worse? Should the photographer be an observer or a participant creating images that for the first time could be shared democratically across the globe? Just as curious is the little-known fact of Charles Dodgson's passion for photography and contempt for his own fame as the writer, Lewis Carroll. His ambitions put Dodgson on an inevitable collision course with Cameron, a woman who came to photography late in life and took Victorian society by storm with her talent, beauty, and daring innovations. Although Dodgson had a provocative way with photos of children, he could never match the inner light captured in Cameron's portraits of nearly everyone who was anyone in the sciences, arts, and letters.
In the cultural shorthand of today, Dodgson would be a PC and Cameron a Mac. He argues for technique and precision while she aspires to expressiveness and freedom. Both are vying to win the mind and heart of Alice Liddell, who is involved in her own struggles against time, her fictional identity, and societal expectations. Stirring up the already explosive rivalry while providing comic relief and lyric eloquence, is Alfred Tennyson, Julia's neighbor, biggest fan, and close intimate.
A magical journey into the literary heart of Victorian England, Exposure Time is a perfect play for young teens and above. Schools are invited to contact NJ Rep to discuss booking special discounted matinee performances that include lesson plans and post-show discussions with the actors.
Directed by Alan Sousa, Exposure Time features Andrea Gallo as Julia Margaret Cameron, Adam Jonas Segaller as Charles Dodgson, John Fitzgibbon as Alfred Tennyson, and Jessica Howell as Alice Liddell. Stage manager is Rose Riccardi; scenic design by Quinn Stone; lighting design by Jill Nagle; properties by Jessica Parks; costume design by Patricia E. Doherty; original music and sound design by Merek Royce Press.
Discounted previews are Thursday and Friday, February 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Regular performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m., with selected Sundays performances at 7 p.m. as well as Thursday and Friday matinees by prior arrangement for students and other groups. Tickets are $40; $35 for previews; $60, opening night; $36 for seniors and students (except opening night); with discounts for groups of ten or more.
NJ Rep is a year-round, professional non-profit theater, a member of the National New Play Network, New Jersey Theater Alliance, Theater Communications Group, and the Monmouth and Long Branch Arts Councils.