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‘Alice in Rainbowland’ brings queer twist to classic tale

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
‘Alice in Rainbowland’ brings queer twist to classic tale
Lilly Rose Valore as Alice. PHOTO: Carven Creative Media

A classic story gets a celebratory queer twist at the American Repertory Theater’s virtual OBERON stage this month. On June 10, “Alice in Rainbowland” reinvents Lewis Carroll’s fantasy world to celebrate queer experiences and provide a peek into a world free of the discriminatory practices that plague the LGBTQ community.

“Alice in Rainbowland” is produced and curated by Ana Masacote through her Queer Bodies in Motion group. This is the artistic debut of Queer Bodies in Motion, a dance project aimed at shedding light on LGBTQ discrimination and celebrating queer identity. The show is sponsored by the Boston Foundation’s Live Arts Boston Grant, Virtually OBERON, Cambridge Arts, Burju Shoes, Boston Dance Alliance, Snatched Entertainment and Dance to Power.

Yyoyo Escada as Oracle. PHOTO: Carven Creative Media

Yyoyo Escada as Oracle. PHOTO: Carven Creative Media

“This production and Pride Month are important because we really need to get to a place where everyone can coexist together. I think that’s the overall goal,” says dancer, model and Trans activist Lilly Rose Valore, who plays Alice. “’Alice in Rainbowland’ is a part of that and I hope it will keep the conversation going with our allies.”

Rose Valore says she didn’t have the opportunity to experience “Alice in Wonderland” as a child, due to a strained relationship with her family about her identity. Now, the performer has the opportunity to live in and shape the childhood story around her own experience and with performers from all over the Northeast. Dancers, musicians and other creative community members from Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island came together to bring this production to life. They dedicated the show to queer youth and empowering young people to live authentically.


Nadia Issa as Absolem in Alice in Rainbowland. PHOTO: Carven Creative Media

This is a natural mission for Rose Valore, who teaches voguing classes around Boston in an effort to both educate the public about queer culture and provide a space where queer and heteronormative people can coexist and have fun. Voguing is a highly stylized mode of dance that originated in the Harlem ballroom scene. The form is deeply rooted in queer communities of color, and Rose Valore carries the legacy forward here in Boston.

“I think Boston needs this show,” says Rose Valore. “Boston has a very progressive mindset … but I think the city is lacking a sense of diversity. I just want a world where everyone feels safe to be who they are.”

The 30-minute virtual video was filmed around the OBERON venue last month and will stream on A.R.T.’s website through the end of June. On June 10 at 7:30 p.m., a virtual premiere celebration will launch the streamed performance.

American Repertory Theater, arts, LGBTQ, theatre
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