Explaining the Jabberwocky
We like to name things at Lookingglass and to make up or repurpose words, so I thought Iâ€™d take a moment today to play Humpty and explain some of the poetry that is our Alice lingua franca. Gladys is the name of the dress form, clad in B&W brought on by the White Rabbit during the first scene w/ the Red Queen.Â She was named by Doug Hara, the original WR.Â Mr. Risey and Mr. Fally are the names of the two red balloons which appear, one rising slowly at the beginning of the show, the other falling slowly at the end.Â The crew person assigned to fill these balloons with helium has a delicate task trying to make each fulfill the promise of his name as slowly as possible, without becoming its opposite.Â At Lookingglass, Mr. Risey would frequently re-appear at some point later in the play becoming Mr. Float Around the House and sometimes even Mr.Follow The Actors Around with the Appearance of Sentience as If He Thinks Albert Lamorisse is Still Alive and this is an Audition for Red Balloon II-Pascalâ€™s Revenge. The hand off of Mr. Fally to Alice sitting in the lyra is accomplished by the Gravelle, the last in a long line of devices designed for this purpose.Â The original was a hinge jawed shark head on a stick, chosen as a prize at Chuck E Cheeseâ€™s specifically in hopes that it would help Patia reach Lauren from the catwalk.Â The stick however was too short and so Shark Stick had only marginal success.Â At the New Victory in New York Jason invented his way through several prototypes before coming up with the Wild Cat Device, named for the Wild Cat brand of mousetrap used in its construction.Â The Wild Cat Device was quite successful but was lost in transit between New York and Philadelphia where ASM Steve Gravelle used those backstage MacGyver staples--Â dowel, gaff tape, binder clip and tieline, to invent the device that now bears his name, and which we continue to use to this day.Â Â Toaster is a verb signifying the action of getting Tea Party chairs out of the picnic basket by throwing them up through the trap opening.Â So for example, â€śThough we use 16 chairs in the Tea Party scene, only 15 of them are toastered. The first chair is simply handed off to the March Hare.â€ť At each venue we audition the toastering skills of the available crew and the winner becomes the Toast Master.Â Seth is the current Toast Master.Â Scallywag is also a verb, signifying the action of moving a hanging object out of the way of another object attempting to potentially occupy the same space.Â It is necessary for us to scallywag the lyra (most often by pulling it up onto the WR loading platform) so it will not be in the way of the cloudswing path.Â It then must be unscallywagged, so tha tit can fly in at the end of the play.Â Here in Louisville we also scallywag one of the fluorescents during thelyra routine so it wonâ€™t interfere with the lyraâ€™s path. Mel Gibson is the name of the large black fabric masking which is the key element in creating the mirror effect at the top of theshow.Â Nick and Jason, the original Finest Run Crew in Chicago, gave the masking this name during the first run of Alice in 2005 because it was, â€śrugged and handsome.â€ťÂ At every subsequent revival for the show, the name has remained.Â Here in Louisville, as usual, the crew took to the name right away. Â But once the actors arrived, Mitchell voiced an objection to naming something after a man who had made anti-Semitic and homophobic statements. I explained that we named the drop before all of that really came to light. Â He began a campaign to re-name the drop Clive Owen, who is also rugged and handsome. But Lee, our head rigger, flat out refused and everyone else just kept forgetting. Â So I persuaded Mitchell to set his objection aside by explaining that we are actually very cruel to the Mel Gibson drop. Â We hang him and drop him from a great height and then stuff him in a hamper and make him stay there for hours. Â POWs are treated better. Â The crew has now named the separate pieces of masking for the Red Queen and White Queen scaffoldings Danny Glover and Joe Pesci,respectively and the hamper which collects them all is named Chris Rock. Â So there you have it.Â A few of our Alice-isms.