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Spirited was a mainstage show at The Hideout Theatre, inspired by the dream-logic works from artists like Lewis Carroll, Hayao Miyazaki, and Maurice Sendak.


Spirited was The Hideout's mainstage show in September and October of 2011. It had subsequent performances at The Improvised Play Festival and The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival the following year.

Show Structure

Each performance centered around a young girl, called "the Alice" in rehearsals (though the character could have any name), played by either Halyn Lee Erickson or Sarah Marie Curry. All the other performers in the show would wear all black, while the Alice would be dressed in a frilly, 19th-century dress.

The show began with the actress who played the Alice getting a suggestion from the audience. Then most of the cast would take the stage in a tableau. This would become a scene that took place in 'the real world', wherein the Alice would explore different parts of the stage and interact with different groups of people.

In this part of the story especially, performers would emphasize what director Asaf Ronen called "personal propaganda". Instead of focusing on plot or relationship, one focussed particularly on the character's point of view -- a simple idea like "you can always trust everybody" -- and on working that idea into as much of the character's speech and actions as possible.

At some point in the 'real world' scene (usually around the five-minute mark), an outside character would appear, termed in rehearsal "the White Rabbit", played by a pre-determined performer (though, of course, the character in performance needn't be a literal rabbit). This character would lead Alice out of the real world, and into the surreal world we'd occupy for the rest of the show. During that transition, tech would contribute trippy lighting and sound offers, and the performers might intersperse bits of the "personal propaganda" from the first scene.

Then Alice would arrive in a surreal dream-scape, and this world is where she'd spend most of the rest of the show. Scenes would often open with physical offers. Sometimes, the performers would embody monsters, either glomming together to form giant monsters, or mimicking each other's behavior, to portray a flock of similar individual monsters. It was often incumbent on the performer playing Alice to describe, verbally, what her character perceived, so that the audience could see these fanciful creatures and landscapes through her eyes, and so everybody could get on the same page w/r/t what they were portraying.

Spirited avoided plot. The notion was that each scene -- or perhaps more properly, "vignette" -- was a part of this world that had existed before Alice's arrival, and would go on existing afterwards. The denizens of that world might not be affected by Alice. They might not even take any particular notice of her. The important thing was to see and to explore the reality of this world, hoping that the "personal propaganda" that had peppered the opening scene would inform those explorations. When one vignette ended, another would begin, and apart from the fact that Alice had gone from one place to another, there didn't need to be any "through-line" connecting the events from one scene to the next, or any callbacks to earlier scenes. Even the White Rabbit needn't reappear in multiple scenes.

After about an hour of these explorations, there would be a transition back to the real world of the opening scene. After some brief interactions between Alice and the real-world characters -- ones which might show Alice changed, personally, in some way -- the performance would end.





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