Whether it's through the looking glass, to a desert island, or to the land of Siam, Western Washington University's Theatre Arts Department is going places this summer.
Summer Stock, the Theatre Arts Department's annual series of summer productions, will feature “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Tempest,” and “The King and I.”
The musical “Alice in Wonderland” is directed by Deb Currier, associate professor in theater arts and director of the drama in education concentration.
“My concept is this kaleidoscope fun house,” said Currier. “It's eight people playing all of those cool, wacky characters.”
The play will be an immersive experience. The audience will go down a staircase to get to the PAC Underground Theatre, and will then be seated around the stage in a circle.
“They go down the rabbit hole, and they're in Wonderland,” Currier said. “It's all around them.”
The centerpiece of Summer Stock will be “The King and I,” directed by Gregory Pulver, Chair of the WWU Theatre Arts Department.
Pulver spent eleven days in Thailand, the play's setting, to learn about the culture.
“I'm trying to do as culturally sensitive a version of this play as copyright laws will allow me to do,” Pulver said.
“The King and I” is banned in Thailand because of the negative portrayal of the king, Pulver said.
“There's some falseness about this play that many Americans think is the truth about Thai people,” Pulver said.
Pulver does not plan to alter the play a great deal, instead stressing “classical American musical theatre.”
“We're not tweaking it in any way,” Pulver said. “We're not doing it on Mars.”
The role of the king will be played by Eddie Webb, a professional actor from St. Louis, whom Pulver met through a friend. The cast features students as well community members.