LIVERMORE – DLUX Puppets sold out the Bankhead Theater early this year with their innovative musical adaptation of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland and now returns on Sunday, Dec. 30, for two more performances.
A feast for the eyes and a joyful theatrical experience for all ages, the show is filled with remarkable life-size puppets, interactive digital scenery and clever dialogue, bringing to life the marvelous world of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts. In addition to a matinee at 2 p.m., a new sensory-friendly performance, tailored for those on the autism spectrum or who have other special needs, will be offered earlier in the morning at 11 a.m.
The Bankhead Theater is at 2400 First Street in Livermore. Tickets are $20 regular and $10 for students. For tickets visit lvpac.org or call 925-373-6800.
A multi-talented performer and former star of San Francisco’s famed “Beach Blanket Babylon,” Derek Lux built all the puppets in the show by hand and provides all the voices. The seven puppets range in size from just two feet to over seven feet high and each is different in terms of style, scale and how they are physically operated. For example, the Queen of Hearts is a hybrid puppet and costume that Lux straps himself into before performing her arms and head.
Lux and his wife Lauren, a credentialed teacher who plays the role of Alice, founded DLUX Puppets in 2016. Their goal is to provide fun family entertainment that also aligns with current education standards and supports social-emotional development. In their production, Alice learns from the characters she meets that her words, thoughts and feelings have power and that she has the ability to change them and change her world.
DLUX Puppets focuses on making their shows welcoming for all families. The “sensory-friendly” morning performance has been designed to create a comfortable theatrical experience that meets all needs. Some of the modifications they have made include keeping the house lights on at a low level, using natural stage lighting with no abrupt changes, and avoiding startling or loud sounds throughout the performance. Patrons can feel free to use supportive technology, talk, stand, or leave their seats during the show, so the performance space is open and judgement-free for everyone. A special DLUX Puppets Sensory-Friendly study guide is available to help prepare young audience members on what to expect.
“During our debut season, we had a very memorable post-performance meet and greet with a special needs child and immediately saw the magic between puppets and this population,” said Lauren Lux. “There are families who might otherwise not be able to attend the theater because of sensory sensitivities to changing lights and abrupt sounds. We hope our modifications will provide access for that community so they can attend and experience the joy of live theater.” After every show, both Derek and Lauren Lux will be available in the lobby so members of the audience can take photos with Alice and admire one of the puppets close up.
In addition to the public shows at the end of December, two performances are being offered to students from local elementary schools through an arts educational outreach effort sponsored in part by the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center Education Fund. The fund will also underwrite $10 student tickets for the two public shows. Adult tickets are just $20.
DLUX Puppets will return to the Bankhead in early June 2019 with their new production of “Peter Pan.” Tickets for both Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan are available now through the Bankhead Theater ticket office or online at lvpac.org.