“So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things were really impossible!”
It’s the middle of summer and although Christmas is the last thing on most people’s minds we’re already planning our Christmas show! This year we will be putting on Alice’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland, and although it is based on the classic novel that we all know and love, this will be a retelling with a wintery twist.
We’re right at the start of the production process, so before we meet Alice and explore our Winter Wonderland through this series of blog posts, let’s look at Lewis Carroll’s original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Lewis Carroll, actually named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, most notable for his successful writing career, was also a mathematician, logician, and photographer. He has been dubbed as the Einstein of the ‘literary nonsense’ genre; his whimsical, quirky and eccentric writing style has inspired our Christmas show, which draws inspiration from both novels.
The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland originated in the mid-nineteenth century, on a boat trip, where a little girl named Alice Liddell, daughter of Lewis Carroll’s friend Henry Liddell, asked Carroll to tell her a story. What then emerged were the beginnings of one of the most influential and iconic tales of all time, and when Carroll’s friend George Macdonald presented the incomplete manuscript to Macmillan Publishers, Carroll’s story transformed.
Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds herself in Wonderland, a fantastical place with talking animals. The adventure unfold as a dream-like series of nonsensical scenes, in which Alice is questioned by a Caterpillar, has a tea party with the Mad Hatter and plays a chaotic game of croquet with the Queen of Hearts. To top it all off, Alice is betrayed by her body which grows to the size of a giant at the most inconvenient of times and gets her into lots of trouble.
After the success of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Carroll went on to write the sequel Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Alice walks through a mirror to an alternative land, laid out like a giant chess board. The narrative is more structured than in the previous novel, in that the Red Queen challenges Alice to play her way to the eighth rank of the board to be crowned queen. On her way she meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, the White Queen and the Red Knight. The world is vividly imagined by Carroll, with its own folklore, such as the poem about the Jabberwocky.
We will be reimagining this childhood favourite story for Christmas, so expect tea parties, the White Rabbit and magical potions… with a few of our own ideas thrown in too!
Our next blog post will be from Craig Morrow, Artistic Director for Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and Producer for Alice’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland. Craig will be blogging about what excites him as a theatre producer and some of the decisions made, and considerations involved, in our production.
Caitlin Clark, Arts Marketing Intern