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L.A. Beat

U of L students reimagine Alice in Wonderland

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University of Lethbridge students add a little twenty-first century panache to Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s story Alice In Wonderland, with their new production happening in theDan Perryman is in the U of L production of Alice, Feb. 12-16 at the David Spinks Theatre. photo by Richard Amery David Spinks Theatre, Feb. 12-16.

“It isn’t about plot, it’s about experiencing a dream world,” said director Mia Van Leeuwen.

“Alice: A Devised adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland” is described as “an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's fantastical masterpiece that explores the puzzling journey of Alice through performing objects, movement and mask. The work will be created through a devised theatre process that reconsiders all the main characters with a focus on the surrealistic dimensions of Wonderland. ”
Students created the show based on Lewis Carroll’s original story.

“We didn’t have a script,” said Van Leeuwen, noting the roots of the production come from her immersive theatre class, which began back in September. The 22 member cast have been in active production of the show since January.

“It’s the students’ adaptation of the original story and characters,” she said the show is episodic like the book is so the students play multiple roles throughout the show.

“Some are solo roles, others are four people or  group numbers. Some include the who cast,” she said.
“It’s lots of fun,” she said.

 They perform Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum’s discussion of shucking clams and created their own interpretation of the Lobster Quadrille dance from Mock  Turtle and Gryphon including a rap backed by modern dance choreography.

Madeline Smith is in the U of L production of Alice, Feb. 12-16 at the David Spinks Theatre. photo by Richard AmeryThere is also a recycling theme in the show which is apparent in the costumes.
For example Dan Perryman, who is a prominent face with Shakespeare in the Park, wears a hat made out of soup cans.

“The Alice in Wonderland story has been recycled so many times, we thought we’d reference that. So we’ve used found objects and items from our costuming department,” she said.Katie Boyes and Emily Boyes play Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in the U of L's production of Alice, running Feb. 12-16. Photo by Richard Amery

Van Leeuwen noted she  guided the students through their process.

“But I respected their process,” she said, adding there is one faculty member in the show.

“Gail Hanrahan. She’s our Red Queen,” she said.

While  Alice in Wonderland is considered a children’s book, the show is more complicated.
“There are some similarities to Theatre for young Audiences. But there are also a lot of elements of fantasy,” she said.
Tickets are available at or by calling 403-329-2616.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
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