Inside Curtain Players

By Curtain Players
Posted: June 12, 2017
Curtain Players playhouse exterior

Got Rehearsal? 'Alice' in the Outdoors

By Laura Dachenbach

There is nothing natural about talking cats or caterpillars, but it seems to be entirely natural to set Alice in Wonderland outdoors. What is more natural than growing up?

"The fact that we're in the park changes it and makes it special. We're actually in nature and being creative like Alice is. She's creating this world like we are," says Tristan Rose Gillia, who plays the Queen.

Yet adolescence, like nature, can be a strange, confusing, and frightening puzzle.

A guard against fear is to have a mentor. In this version, Lewis Carroll accompanies Alice through her adventures, episodes that are projections of Alice herself, and everything she must overcome and learn in order to become a woman.

"She's everything that scares her," says Gillia on the Queen's relationship with Alice. "She's that little voice in her head that says, 'You're not good enough'."

But there are ways to overcome those challenges. One way is to be deliberate and conscious about the journey — to own the narrative.

"We write Alice in Wonderland in the production. We discover Alice in Wonderland in this version," says Sonda Staley, who directs Alice. The production has taken a game-like quality under her hand, which may be "some very good advice" indeed. The Rabbit Hole of growing up may go deep, but it's a trip everyone takes.