This show is a celebration of the works of Lewis Carroll. All the classic characters that audiences expect are featured including the Red and White Queens, Humpty Dumpty, the Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the talking Flowers. Additionally, the Borogoves give an added layer of poetry by Lewis Carroll from his other works. The script is extremely faithful to Carroll’s original novel, oftentimes using his exact wording, yet the twist of following our rabbit heroes gives a refreshing new take on this classic tale.
When Alice becomes trapped in a game of chess, five rabbits swoop in to save her. Between solving riddles and fending off the evildoers of Wonderland, it is up to our rabbit team to keep little Alice safe. However, the risks are higher than Alice ever imagined. When the Chesire Cat attempts to steal Alice’s sense, it is revealed that all humans who lose a chess game in Wonderland become rabbits forever. The Black Rabbit plans to get Alice, a pawn, to the eighth square thus promoting her to a queen and hopefully taking her out of the game. Meanwhile, the Brown Rabbit must make a choice: help the Cheshire Cat steal Alice’s sense to turn himself human again, or help Alice win the game and her freedom. Black Rabbit’s plan falls apart when they reach the eighth square only for Alice to be whisked away to the palace. The dream suddenly ends when Alice takes the Red Queen, the White Army wins, and Black Rabbit puts an end to the Cheshire Cat. In the end, to the relief of the rabbits, Alice wakes up at home safe and sound. About 90 minutes.
With Kate Bauer
What inspired you to write this play?
In the era following the COVID-19 pandemic, I was desperate to supply the students of Caledonia High School with a great fall play experience. Besides the common issues of a heavily female-leaning student body and the need for a huge number of parts, COVID threw us into a more complex world of unknowns. The solution, I would write a play for my students thus giving us the flexibility to meet their needs as they came. The result is a script that is written by a high school teacher, for high school teachers!
I have always loved the works of Lewis Carroll and knew that the students wanted a fun and quirky play. My students also love a script with a bit of a serious twist. The story of Alice seemed like a great fit for my program. But to make it interesting, something new, I turned to the works of Tom Stoppard for inspiration. I knew that telling a known tale from the point of view of a minor character would give us the twist I was looking for. The rest simply fell in place as I thought about the students I was writing for.
What's your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
In producing the play, we found several moments that became our favorites. Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall became the techie favorite as it required the most theater magic... and they couldn’t stop giggling at the end of it watching the actor fall. The students at large loved the scene of the rabbits meeting to discuss Alice. Brown’s “I do not brood!” line was done so well by our actor that it became the most quoted line amongst the kids.
My personal favorite moment is when we first meet Ches. I love a good villain!
Tell us about the characters?
The White Rabbit is based on the original rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s work. He is very nervous and tries his best to manage the group and avoid disaster.
The Spotted Rabbit is meant to reflect a child. He has a much easier time surviving in Wonderland as he is filled with child-like wonder himself. This brave little hero is kind and sweet. He really is a crowd favorite.
The Black Rabbit is the “mom-friend” of the group. He is very protective of his friends and has a strong sense of justice. Since he takes the safety of his friends very personally, he tends to work the hardest to keep Alice safe and takes any failure in this the hardest.
The Red Rabbit is a loner. She prefers not to get involved in trouble, but is clearly good at using her brains to fix things. Like that one friend who will tell you the truth no matter how ugly, Red Rabbit is honest about her situation in Wonderland and seems to have the clearest understanding of the world.
The Brown Rabbit is the most complex of the group. He wavers between pessimist and realist. His logical mind doesn’t mess well with the nonsense of Wonderland. He also seems to have the hardest time expressing friendship. In the original production this was the students’ favorite character. Teenagers love a character with internal conflict.
What did you try to achieve with this show?
I wanted to make this classic tale more relatable to the teenagers I work with. My students don’t often read the classics, but they love video games, cartoons, and other media that use classics as inspiration. My goal was to show my students the world Carroll created. I knew they would appreciate it if they could see it!
Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
I hope that this play helps the high school theater community. Often I find myself looking for my next show for what seems like forever. Plays either don’t have a large enough cast, are too male heavy, or aren’t as clean as my school demands. I want to put this play out in the world to help other teachers!