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Sarah Hart
Press Releases
Theatre Arts
multiple locations

British Theater Company Hoipolloi Brings the Colorful Words of Edward Lear to Life with their Popular Family Show "My Uncle Arly." March 27-29, Los Angeles, CA

by Sarah Hart
March 27, 2009
Ralph Freud Playhouse
MacGowan Hall, UCLA Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90024
British Theater Company Hoipolloi Brings the Colorful Words of
Edward Lear to Life with their Popular Family Show "My Uncle Arly" Presented by UCLA Live at Freud Playhouse March 27-29

"At last, the show we've all been waiting for. Bursting at the seams with theatrical energy and full to the brim with visual wit. Utterly brilliant." Sunday Herald (London)

"There was an Old Derry down Derry…" These words are those of illustrator and writer Edward Lear (1812 –1888), an English artist, illustrator and writer known for his literary nonsense, in prose and verse, especially his limericks. Lear's nonsense works bring together verbal invention and a poet's delight in the sounds of words, both real and imaginary. A stuffed rhinoceros becomes a "diaphanous doorscraper". A "blue Boss-Woss" plunges into "a perpendicular, spicular, orbicular, quadrangular, circular depth of soft mud." His most famous piece of verbal invention, a "runcible spoon" occurs in the closing lines of "The Owl and the Pussycat", and is now found in many English dictionaries.

Inspired by Lear's life, poems and illustrations, British theater company Hoipolloi will present the family theater piece "My Uncle Arly" at UCLA Live's Freud Playhouse on March 27-29 for five performances only.

"My Uncle Arly" is an inventive and engaging family friendly performance full of music and song that delves deep into Lear's sense of humor. Filled with some of his best-loved characters, the show creates a stupendously silly and gloriously giggly world where easels become birds and hats fly, and where you can meet the pobble who has no toes and the dong with the luminous nose.

Hoipolloi is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed company that has been making innovative family theater since 1994. Their work imaginatively engages audiences and makes them laugh by creating strong stage worlds that are unbound by the confines of reality. The work is celebratory, colorful, gleeful, full of physical energy and visual excitement. Most importantly, it is aimed to appeal to a wide range of people, to entertain them as well as to playfully challenge their sense of reality. Audiences should be "prepared to embrace the absurd" says The Guardian as "Edward Lear's nonsense verse is translated into marvellous nonsense theatre," reported the Daily Telegraph.

Hoipolloi has toured 16 new shows nationally and internationally over the years and has received three Total Theatre Award nominations (for "My Uncle Arly", "Floating" and" Story of a

Rabbit"); a nomination for Best Actor from The Stage Awards, as well as winning a Total Theatre Award for "Floating" (2006) and a Scotsman Fringe First award for "Story of a Rabbit" (2007).

Hoipolloi at UCLA Live is presented in conjunction with WebPlay – the international arts education charity, linking classrooms around the world through drama and technology. For several weeks teachers and students in the UK and Los Angeles have been invited to partake in a structured web based curriculum that offers opportunities to research on another's worlds. Students learn, about the people and the place and then develop a theatrical production about each other's homes. Part of the experience includes interaction with the theatre company Hoipolloi where kids learn about the theater, the creative roles of actors, directors, designers and writers and can ask specific questions about making a theatrical production. There is also a web based curriculum regarding the art and poetry of Edward Lear.

Students from LAUSD elementary schools, including Apperson Street, Logan Street, Magnolia Avenue, Micheltorena Avenue, Multnomah Street, Parks Learning Center, Betty Plasencia, Union Avenue and Wonderland Ave Elementary schools are all partaking in the 2009 project with Hoipolloi and will attend day time performances of "My Uncle Arly" at UCLA Live. For more information go to www.webplay.org.

UCLA Live's Art in Action has also been working with students from The Virginia Avenue Project and Watts Tutorial. Students have been introduced to the nonsense poetry and fanciful illustrations of Edward Lear, and they have been composing their own limericks and illustrations. In addition, there will be a limerick and doodle contest for all ages. The best poems and drawings will be on display in the lobby of the Freud for the length of the run. Info on how the community/audience can participate will be on the Art in Action web page as well as the Hoipolloi event page at www.uclalive.org/edu_artedu.htm.

My Uncle Arly

Artistic director Shôn Dale-Jones

Associate director Stefanie Müller

Written by: Shôn Dale-Jones and David Farmer

Directed by: Shôn Dale-Jones

Designed by: Stefanie Müller

Music by: Adam Cork

Cassie Friend

Ben Frimston

Stefanie Müller

Andrew Pembrooke

Trond-Erik Vassdal

Running time is 70 mins

Tickets for Hoipolloi's "My Uncle Arly"are $25 and $15 for children 12 and younger and UCLA Students. They are available at the UCLA Central Ticket Office at the southwest corner of the James West Alumni Center, online at www.UCLALive.org and at all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information or to charge by phone, call 310-825-2101. Discounted student rush tickets, subject to availability, are offered to all students with a valid ID one hour prior to show time on the day of performances.
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