Local audiences can delve into the richly imaginative world of author Lewis Carroll with Red Deer College theatre studies’ adaptation of Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Performances run on the Arts Centre mainstage Nov. 21-23 and 26-30 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Weekend matinees are also set for Nov. 23 and 30 at 1 p.m.
Alice Through the Looking Glass continues as a kind of sequel to Alice in Wonderland.
From the magical moment when Alice is transported from the real world through the looking glass into a world of colour and visual delight, audiences are indeed in for a fantastical story.
“The literary work is so incredible to me,” explained Adams, noting the striking and insightful genius of Carroll. The world Alice ventures into is replete with unforgettable, vibrant and colourful scenes.
This version of the play originally premiered in the 1974 and toured to great success in Canada. It is an adaptation by Edmonton’s Jim DeFelice of the original story published in 1871.
The production also feature six original songs by Larry Reese (who is also now an instructor at RDC) – his score has been rearranged by the show’s musical director Morgan McKee.
Adams said she first read this particular version of the play about 15 years ago. Years back, she had worked with playwright (Jim DeFelice) on a number of projects as well.
“I remember reading it and thinking this is such a great play because it really captures what it needs to of the story,” she said. “There are also seven singing pieces in it, and lots of music interwoven through. I thought what a lovely children’s show.”
But it’s great for the grown-ups too, she points out, as there is lots of clever word play in it as well, she added. “It’s smartly-written and witty, too.”
And of course it was a real treat to hear Reese’s musical score as well.
As mentioned, he actually penned the score for a production of Alice Through the Looking Glass in the early 1970s. Adams didn’t really know him at the time, but these days, their offices are side by side at RDC and they’ve worked together for the past 10 years.
“I kind of feel like everything has come full circle for me. I just feel blessed to be able to do this piece with these two people (Reese and DeFelice) who I just admire so much and care for so much.”
As to the music, Adams is thrilled with it. “It’s stunning – quite beautiful and really hummable. We’re just singing all of these tunes all the time because they are really melodic and they’re very fun. There’s some jazzy stuff happening, some country and some musical theatre happening as well. It’s quite eclectic and very diverse.
“Morgan has also found lots of layers to the music. It’s very sophisticated and fun.”
As to the play’s set-up, characters move around a revolving stage that is constantly transformed from Alice’s home to the realm of the White Queen to a forest. Actors are dressed in hoop-skirted costumes that suggest the chess board-like landscape of the entire countryside. Set designer Cindi Zuby and costume designer Angela Dale’s creative vision indeed helps to usher the audience into the magical world behind the looking glass.
As part of the preparation for the roles, Adams had the cast of seven join the childcare centre on RDC’s campus to read stories to the children in character. This way, they could experience how kids interact with stories, how they move and play, and what makes them laugh and imagine.
“Alice is also a wonderful family show that celebrates the importance of imagination,” said Adams. “It’s been a great learning experience for our actors who have done extensive research to understand the world of children as they step into the incredible world created by Lewis Carroll.”
Tickets are available through www.bkticketcentre.ca or by calling 403-755-6626 or toll free at 1-800-661-8793. Families can take advantage of the family discount and groups of 12 a special Group Rate.