A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole…With Puppets

They had us at “mysterious potables.”

It’s true that the gang at TC Culture likes to drink, but the libations proffered up by Open Eye, South Minneapolis’s genius experimental puppet theater, aren’t likely to be alcoholic. Intoxicating, though? Very much so.

Here’s the deal: Open Eye founders Michael Sommers and Susan Haas have cooked up an interactive spin on Alice in Wonderland, that sinister/anarchic tale first spun by madcap mathematician Lewis Carroll. They’re calling it A Hole. And they’re pitching it as something tantalizingly cryptic and laced with foreboding. The plot, we’re told, involves a grandfather, a little girl, a rabbit—and, apparently, an avalanche of surreal melancholy, triggered by a moment of “unforgivable instinct, loss, and consequence.”

What’s more, the audience gets in on the trip. According to press materials, you show up, you sample a few “mysterious potables and delectable tarts”—consider them aesthetic hallucinogens—and you soon find yourself dragged “from in to out, up to down, small chamber to garden party.” Dress for the weather, we’re told. And be prepared to contemplate whether you’ll ever return to the real world again.

Is this theater as haunted house? Maybe. But that’s precisely what Open Eye offers with all of its productions: a kidnapping, followed by a heady transport into a realm of abstract strangeness, full of puppets, projections, and other handmade illusions. Seems to us the place is always a Wonderland. And the audience is a collection of Alices.

On preview, A Hole has us hooked. Can’t wait to burrow into it.

A Hole
September 22–30
Arrive by 7:50 p.m.
Open Eye Theatre, 506 E. 24th St., Mpls.