You can bet Lewis Carroll never imagined this. The Mad Hatter is a DJ, Tweedledee and Tweedledum are two dance crews and the White Knight is on a razor scooter. Oh, and the Looking Glass is a computer screen that pulls Alice into the internet.
Adapted and directed by Jim Wren, associate professor of theatre, this new “Alice” production is being described as an urban techno original that draws on Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
“Internet safety is a theme because in this version Alice falls asleep at her computer and awakes to find herself in a strange, exciting and dangerous new world,” Wren said. “We decided to connect ‘Alice’ to this issue because the rabbit hole in our production is the internet.”
Staging a classic in contemporary terms is a challenge that Wren enjoys. In “Alice,” the play is internet-inspired. This becomes a jumping off point for talking about internet safety, which has been publicized widely for problems like cyber bullying and cyber stalking.
“The internet is a valuable tool for children,” Wren said. “Many schools now are emphasizing the importance of internet safety – with specific lessons about how the internet may seem strange and exciting with fascinating information – but that some of that information is dangerous and not appropriate for children.”
The stage for Wonderland/Internet and its special effects promises to be a unique experience for audiences.
The play, which opened last week, has plenty of fun for audiences, and the major characters will be there, although some with a more contemporary twist.
“The title character, Alice, uses Skype to talk with her big sister at college, she plays Wii on stage, she has her iPod and iPhone and is completely connected technologically speaking. But on her journey through the internet she meets fascinating and sometimes dangerous characters,” Wren says.
There is an educational component, with a study guide that has been developed for school groups, and an online internet safety quiz that children can take.
The play is a joint production of UNCG Theatre and NC Theatre for Young People. Performances in Taylor Theatre are at 2 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19; 9:30 a.m. Nov. 17-19; and noon on Nov. 18. Tickets cost $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, students and children; $9 for groups of 10 or more and UNCG alumni; and $7 for UNCG students. Tickets may be purchased at boxoffice.uncg.edu, 4-4849 or campus box office locations.
By Steve Gilliam
Photography by Jody Cauthen