"4 Alice" by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener

And you thought those actors were just fooling around.  You stepped up to THE WINDOW at the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York. You saw the actors inside the storefront windows. Cavorting in an “Alice in Wonderland” kind of craziness. But you can’t hear a word of what they said!

The experimental brilliance of THE WINDOW is its elusiveness. At no point does it ever completely gratify you with a conventional text-based experience of a play. You are seeing a play unfold but you are not hearing it. If you did not hear the play in performance, is it even a play?

In this exclusive play excerpt, you will now be able to sample the text of 4 Alice, the Romanian-American time-based installation written by Saviana Stanescu. You will have a glimpse below of who Alice is when she is trying to be a good daughter. Consider returning to that same window with this text on your mobile phone. You will now be able to follow the words of the actors. Well, up to a point.

Created & directed by Ana Mărgineanu, and designed by Daniela Codarcea Kamiliotis, this second part of THE WINDOW installation/performance, entitled 4 Alice, reopened June 5. It continues to perform this week through June 18. It runs every 20 minutes from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm each evening. There will be no performance on June 17, however.

And you thought these actors were just making things up as they went along. Didn’t you? Admit it. You did.

To read my performance review of 4 Alice, click here.

VISIT THE WINDOW’s Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/266494100114538/275670245863590/?ref=notif¬if_t=plan_mall_activity

Enjoy reading the text excerpt from 4 Alice below:

"4 Alice" by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener
“4 Alice” by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener

The Romanian Cultural Institute in New York presents
4 Alice
the second installation of The Window
A Site-Specific Theatrical Work Created for the Storefront Gallery Window
Created & Directed by Ana Mărgineanu
Designed by Daniela Codarcea Kamiliotis
Written by Saviana Stănescu

"The Window 2": Saviana Stanescu's "4 Alice" | Photo by Randy Gener
“The Window 2”: Saviana Stanescu’s “4 Alice” | Photo by Randy Gener


ALICE is in the living room, in a wheeling chair, caressing the cat on her lap. MOM enters carrying a dress.

MOM:  Pretty, pretty, pretty! Who’s the prettiest girl? Alice!

ALICE:  (to the cat) She still calls me “girl.” Tell her I’m a 35 years old crippled spinster.

MOM:  You’re still my girl, Alice. You could be 60 and I would be 80, and you’d still be my girl. Until I’m dead, and even then. You’ll still be my girl.

ALICE:  (to the cat) Tell her to stop. Meow her “fuck off” or something.

MOM:  Ready for the big evening?

ALICE:  (to the cat) I wonder who’s the loser she’s bringing this time.

MOM:  You will like him, you’ll see. He’s the nicest gentleman. A professor.

ALICE:  (to the cat) Sure…

MOM:   We need to get you ready.

ALICE:  (to the cat) For torture.

MOM:  Look what I have here! My laced prom dress. You can’t find such a beautiful dress anymore. It’s vintage now. When he’s gonna see you in this dress… you’ll be his queen of hearts! He will propose on the spot, you’ll see.

ALICE:  (to the cat) Tell her to stop this circus. It used to be once a year, now she stages it every month. We won’t get on Broadway, that’s sure.

MOM: Don’t be difficult, Alice, men don’t like gloomy difficult girls. Smile! Let’s get dressed.

ALICE: Whatever. Let’s do it and put an end to it.

MOM puts the dress on Alice, dressing her like she’d do with a doll. Then she brings a necklace.

ALICE:  (to the cat) Oh, no. The heavy artillery.

MOM:  This was your grandma’s.

She brings more jewelry, too much jewelry, and over-decorates Alice like she’d do with a Christmas tree. She brings more scarves and veils. Alice is somewhere under all that stuff.

"4 Alice" by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener
“4 Alice” by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener

MOM: There. The prettiest girl in town: my Alice! (Bell rings.) Oh my Goodness, it’s him.

Mom goes backstage. She brings the GUY. He’s brought flowers.

MOM: Oh, what a gentleman. Gorgeous flowers! Look, Alice! Your favorite flowers.

GUY hands Alice the flowers. Alice starts laughing like a madwoman.

ALICE:  These are dead flowers. I hate hate hate hate hate dead flowers. Flowers live in gardens, living flowers… these are flower corpses… these are cut, severed, in agony… I can’t accept these flowers! I don’t accept these flowers! I hate these flowers!

She throws them at MOM and GUY. MOM picks them up.

MOM: (to GUY) She has a bad day. Her legs, you know… But I love these flowers! You’re such a perfect gentleman. Let’s have a lovely cuppa tea. You were born in London, weren’t you?

GUY:  Yes, m’am. Central London, Tufton Court at Tufton Square.

MOM:  One can tell. Your manners. Your style. The way you talk. (showing him a box with tea bags) Peppermint? Darjeeling?

GUY:  English Breakfast.

MOM:  Oh, of course.

They drink tea and smile at each other, flirtatiously, ignoring Alice.

She pretends she hangs herself with a scarf. Her tongue out, her head on the side, all that. A few times. They still ignore her.

"4 Alice" by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener
“4 Alice” by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener

MOM:  You are lovely!

GUY:  YOU are lovely!

MOM:  (giggling) Sweet talker.

GUY:  We are both lovely.

ALICE:  Bye, bye! Die, die!

She freezes in a suicide pose.

FAST BACKWARD to Alice dancing and her imagined FALL – VISION 00.00.

On the screen, we see flashes of words:


"4 Alice" by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener
“4 Alice” by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener


Alice is homeless. She takes shelter in a back alley, among abandoned objects, garbage, and cats. She talks to the GRINNING CAT (GC).

ALICE: Why are you grinning? What’s so amusing in an old homeless woman?

CG: If you think you’re old, you grow old…

ALICE:  Wisecrack cat. Go look in that garbage bag, that’s from a wealthy household, I can tell. This is a fucking wealthy family. Look at the furniture and the objects they threw in the street. They have good taste. Look at that chair over there! Bring me that beautiful chair over there!

CG:  A chair for milady. Anything else? Tea, coffee, milk, sleeping pills?

ALICE:  Sleeping pills would be nice… in a cup of peppermint tea… with a touch of honey… I haven’t slept in thousands of years…

CG:  More like 50 hours…

ALICE:  The point is… I’m so tired, cat. Tired of you, tired of me, tired of that moon, tired of that sky… tired of that 24Parking sign over there… tired of those people starring at us…

(to the audience) What are you staring at?! Haven’t you seen a tired homeless woman before? Who are you guys? Where are you coming from? I’m Alice. Are you the Mad Hatter? Are you the Red Queen? Are you the White Rabbit?

"4 Alice" by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener
“4 Alice” by Saviana Stanescu | Photo by Randy Gener

4 ALICE, a play written for THE WINDOW by Saviana Stanescu, features set design by Daniela Codarcea Kamiliotis, choreography by Melanie S. Armer, light design by Stephen Arnold, video design by Igor Molochevski & Masha Pekurovsky, and is directed by Ana Mirgineanu with assistant director Patricia Masera. 4 ALICE features Robin Johnson, Nick Smerkanich and Inés Garcia.

The production performs every 20 minutes between 8-10 pm. Admission is free. The Window is located at the RCINY Storefront Window, 573 – 577 Third Avenue, at 38th Street. Subway: 4,5,6,7,S to 42nd/Grand Central. All performances are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.icrny.org.

  • Performance review: Seeing the Romanian Cultural Institute’s “Window” through Alice’s looking glass (theaterofoneworld.org)
  • Immigrant artists and scholars in New York tell their tales of struggle, woe and inspiration (theaterofoneworld.org)
  • Alice in The Wonderland |Lewis Carol (bloggybloggoblogga.wordpress.com)
  • Performance review: Watch a storefront story from a New York sidewalk in this Romanian-American collaboration (theaterofoneworld.org)
  • New Product Alert: Goldie Alice in Wonderland Collection (bellasugar.com)
  • The Man in the Window …again cont.. (anexerciseindiscipline.wordpress.com)
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