November 05, 2013
It’s Now for Neverwhere at Cornish
: "Neverwhere": Sean Schroeder and cast. Photo by Chris Bennion.
: Poster design by Parker Wrenn (DE '12).
: "Neverwhere": Skylar J. Dove and Sean Schroeder. Photo by Chris Bennion.
: "Neverwhere": Sean Schroeder, Angela Praz and Morgan Grody. Photo by Chris Bennion.
: "Neverwhere": Kamaria Hallums Harris and Skylar J. Dove. Photo by Chris Bennion.
: "Neverwhere": Joshua Valencia and Skylar J. Dove. Photo by Chris Bennion.
NOW OPEN! Fantasy cult classic, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere explodes onto the Cornish Playhouse stage through November 10 in Robert Kauzlaric’s new adaptation.
There is a parallel world beneath the streets of London that no “normal” Londoner can see. That saxophone player huddled against the wall of your tube station, the rat scurrying away as you take your trash out to the alley, that “someone” you thought you saw out of the corner of your eye but now is gone: they know all about that dangerous world hovering just out of sight. It’s their world. They call it the “London Below.” Touch this world, and it’s like touching the third rail on the Tube tracks: your normal life is through. You’re an outcast visible only to the other outcasts of London. You’re nothing. You’re forgotten, a shadow. You have no one. You were never there, or anywhere at all. Welcome to Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy — Neverwhere.
Neil Gaiman’s journey through “London Below” comes to life onstage this fall, featuring the next generation of performers and technical artists from Cornish College of the Arts. Robert Kauzlaric’s adaptation of Neverwhere runs November 6 through 10 at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center. Tickets are $5 to $15 and are available online. Seattle Center is the Platinum Sponsor.
In Neverwhere, when Richard Mayhew stops to care for an injured girl on the street, he is drawn into a nightmare shadow world beneath the city of London. To return to his normal life, Richard must brave countless trials, uncover the truth behind a dark conspiracy and face the indomitable Great Beast. He faces a rogues’ gallery of liars, outcasts and assassins on a treacherous voyage to awaken the hero within.
“I was thrilled to run across Rob Kauslaric’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Gaiman is one of our most acclaimed contemporary fantasists (American Gods, Coraline) and a provocative thinker,” said Theater Department Chair Richard E.T. White. “Neverwhere is a classic hero’s journey narrative set in a steam punk world underneath the streets of London, full of memorable characterizations and dizzying action.”
Neverwhere is directed by Roger Benington. “It is reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz. In each, the central character finds himself/herself in dangerous and unfamiliar terrain and longs to return home to a life once-lived,” writes Benington in his director’s notes.
White sees this production of Neverwhere as particularly meaningful given Cornish’s move to Seattle Center’s beautiful and historic Playhouse. “As a story about how saying ‘yes’ opens up amazing doors of possibility, it’s an apt metaphor for Cornish’s new journey of discovery in the Playhouse, as well as our students’ explorations of the multiple universes that theater opens up for you.”
Neverwhere was originally a 1996 BBC mini-series by Neil Gaiman and Larry Henry, which was adapted into novel form by Gaiman. In April 2010, Robert Kauzlaric’s adaptation of the novel debuted at the Lifeline Theatre in Chicago (in which he performed the lead role) and it has since been performed at numerous regional theaters across the United States. The play received Best New Adaptation at the Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards (2011) and Best Playwright and Best Show at the Honor Awards (2010).
The Chicago Tribune said, “There’s no question that Robert Kauzlaric’s adaptation is a full realization of Gaiman’s world, which imagines a shadow, subterranean London easily accessible via the orifices of the Tube.”
The cast of Neverwhere includes Matthew Aguayo (theater graduate, 2012) and current theater students Amanda Clanton, Harriette Dunn-Feliz, Morgan Grody, Kamaria Harris Sara Henley-Hicks, Chris James, Skylar Dove Kovach, Sophie Paterson, Angela Praz, Sean Schroeder and Joshua Valencia.
Neverwhere is directed by Roger Benington, whose work has been seen at Classic Stage Company, Washington Ensemble Theatre, New Century Theatre Company, Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Theatre Off-Jackson, New York Fringe Festival, Madison Rep, Salt Lake Acting Company, Sundance Children’s Theatre, Sundance Theatre Laboratory and Drama League’s New Directors/New Works project. Benington was the founder and Artistic Director of Tooth & Nail Theatre in Salt Lake City. He works regularly at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Atlantic Theatre Acting School, and Cornish College of the Arts and has staged productions with students at Bard University and University of Rochester.
The production staff includes performance production students Maureen Webb, stage manager; Anna Curtiss, costume design; Michael Cornforth, sound design; Dennis Culpepper, technical director; and Dani Norberg, lighting design. Alum John Pyburn (TH ’12) is the assistant director. Cornish faculty members on the team include Geoffrey Alm, fight choreographer; Terri Weagant, dialect coach; and Matthew Smucker, scenic design.
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