Carmel Valley native Alice Cash had no idea that her love for Versailles, croissants, Molière, and everything French would lead to her first job out of college.
Cash (Canyon Crest Academy class of 2009) graduated from Georgetown University in May 2013 with degrees in French, Performance Studies, and Art History. Her senior thesis consisted of writing and directing a play based on a year of research on the creation of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. The play received high critical and scholarly acclaim. The script was then shared with a French government official by one of her professors and she was hired to come to France and research the history of a small town in the Region of Pas-de-Calais and write a play based on the findings.
Upon university graduation, Cash was based in Saint Omer all summer, researching the town’s interesting American connection. She ultimately wrote about the shared history; Maryland Catholic Colonists would come to Saint Omer to study their religion freely at an English Jesuit School. Among these students were three members of the Carroll Family: Daniel Carroll, one of two Catholic signers of the Constitution; Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence; and John Carroll, the first Archbishop for the United States.
Among these students in a small town in France were Founding Fathers of the United States, strongly religious, but who actually advocated for separation of Church and State when they returned to America.
The play was commissioned by the French Department of Development in Pas-de-Calais, in order to start a conversation between the United States and France, first on the artistic creation; and eagerness to turn it towards economic conversations.
Cash will return to France in May to direct a staged reading of the production. This first workshop will allow Cash to see how the play works for a French audience. The play will feature both American and French actors, just as the young Catholics from America lived and studied alongside French citizens. The play will be performed in a theatre from the early 19th century within the Mayor’s building in the town of Saint Omer.
The hope is to secure investors for a full production that will tour in both the United States and Europe in 2015. Already there are talks for a full production in France in summer 2015.
“I never meant to be a playwright,” Cash said. “It started as a means to an end. I needed to tell the real story of the creation of Alice in Wonderland, and there was no play that really expressed the ambiguity I loved, so I wrote it myself. I was suddenly a playwright, and sought after for those skills. Who would’ve thought my first job out of college would be a playwright... in France? I certainly never could have guessed.”
Cash will be attending The New School for Drama in New York City this fall to pursue a master of fine arts in directing. Cash will journey to France with her leading actress, 2013 New York University graduate and fellow San Diegan, LaVon Wageman (a 2009 graduate of Francis Parker School), and her sister, Samantha Cash (Canyon Crest Academy class of 2011), a film student at Pepperdine University who will be making a documentary about the project.
They will be joined by local actors from Pas-de-Calais. For more information, visit www.goldenshards.com.