Young at heart actor Natasha Greenblatt takes on title role in Charlottetown Festival’s Alice Through the Looking Glass
Natasha Greenblatt stars in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
When it came time to dive into her new character, it turned out that a trip to P.E.I.’s north shore was just what Natasha Greenblatt needed.
The 30-year-old Toronto, Ont., native had arrived on the Island to play the lead role in “Alice Through the Looking Glass” this summer at the Charlottetown Festival. And when her family came to the Island recently for a visit, she decided to take them to the beach. They loved what they saw, and Greenblatt was thrilled to watch her little sister’s eyes widen with delight.
“She’d never seen the ocean,’’ Greenblatt said. “She was kicking the ocean for an hour . . . everything was new.’’
Her reaction inspired Greenblatt to embrace her own inner Alice — bringing all the wonder and delight that befits a character that is not quite eight years old.
It’s a role that comes with a certain amount of pressure. Lewis Carroll’s tale is legendary and the role itself is rather iconic.
“The intention . . . is to awaken the child in everyone; that childlike state of wonder and discovery so I was trying to get in touch with my inner child; to not make it too much about the iconic Alice.’’
Once she slips on that signature blue dress, Greenblatt becomes Alice.
“You just have to worry about being as truthful to yourself as possible so they’re not seeing an icon; they’re not seeing an archetype; they’re seeing a real person, but within a very symbolic and very iconographic world.’’
The Charlottetown Festival has entered unchartered territory with “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. It isn’t a musical, one of the rare times a non-musical has graced the main stage. There are musical elements in it but it’s a show that relies on set pieces and choreography.
Adam Brazier, artistic director with the Charlottetown Festival, says the show sets a new standard for the festival. It allows them to more theatrical, more creative and more imaginative.
“For us, it’s unheard of, especially this kind of a play,’ Brazier said. “We’ve never done anything like this in terms of props, in terms of sets, in terms of lights. This is, in every capacity, an absolute new experience for the festival.’’
Developed through the Stratford Festival, Alice is a big production.
All the set pieces came with the show.
“We would never be able to afford to build all of the props in this show; it’s so massive in size,’’ said Brazier.
“It’s very theatrical,’’ adds Greenblatt. “You’re watching people manipulate bouncy horses, (you see) trees on bikes and giant bubble things.’’
And, unlike the Stratford show, Charlottetown’s production includes a live orchestra.
“We took this kernel of something so brilliantly creative and ingenious and we turned it into a bowl of popcorn. It’s never been like this (in Charlottetown),’’ Brazier said.
Greenblatt, who is in practically every scene, calls herself the “audience’s eyes’’ in that she reacts to everything right along with everyone in their seats.
“I sort of function with the audience whose meeting all these fantastical creatures and crazy events . . . really, very absurd. I would characterize this show as absurd and . . . I get to have the same experience as the audience,’’ she said.
Greenblatt also has a minor role in “Anne of Green Gables– The Musical”. She plays Prissy Andrews. In fact, the entire Alice cast also have roles in Anne.
“Exhausting? Absolutely,’’ she says. “But it’s also energizing. The company that’s here for Anne (of Green Gables) is so talented, so energetic. I get to ride their energy. I get to hop on board with them.’’
It’s easy, after all, when you get to turn back into a seven-and-ahalf year old every day.
“It is about the young spirit.’’
Toronto, Ont., native Natasha Greenblatt has taken on the role of Alice in the Charlottetown Festival’s production of Alice Through the Looking Glass this summer. Greenblatt spent last year with the National Arts Centre directing a music/theatre collaboration called the Secret Garden of Lido Pimienta for SummerWorks. Her resume also includes TV and film.
Natasha Greenblatt is shown as Alice in Alice Through the Looking-Glass.