Making of Mainstage
Design by Jay Leavell
Design by Mandorallyn Robertson
A Note from the Director
“Al?ce”- No that’s not a typo. Our adaptation of Al?ce in Wonderland is all about that question mark.
Last year, one of my Advanced Theatre classes brought up the fact that they wished they could see themselves reflected in characters on stage. This led to a conversation about the fact that most often the characters students are asked to play are represented in binary genders. Many of the students at our school and in our community identify themselves as non-binary. Having never considered this lack of representation on stage for our students, I wanted to find a way to ensure every single one of them could see themselves in the characters we create. In an effort to promote inclusion and to do justice by our non-binary students, I set out this summer to write an adaptation of Lewis Carol’s works that better represented my theatre students.
Why Lewis Carol? The more you dig in to the original text of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, the more you find that Lewis Carol’s works are all about answering (Dun Dun Dun) “THE GREAT QUESTION”…Who am I?
Lewis structures his classic stories around the search for better understanding not only one’s own identity, but one’s place in the world. Who am I? Why do I matter? What difference can I make? In this chaotic “dream” Alice comes to terms with becoming who she truly is. As I made my way through the text I found chapter after chapter questioning the names of things, why names matter, what happens when we remove names altogether? From the Forest of No Names to the caterpillar’s classic question- “Whoooooo Are Yooooou?”, this age-old tale is all about self-discovery and identity- two monumental themes I think our teenagers struggle with most in their high school years.
Our adaptation takes these ideas of identity and self-discovery and, of course, THE GREAT QUESTION, and tells the classic story with a twist. In this version, we see Al?ce get to the root of who they are by discovering they want to “live in the in between”. We hope that Al?ce’s journey to self-discovery serves to represent those students who do not always see themselves reflected on stage and reminds all of us that it is okay to wrestle with the great question in on our way.
"We all have to travel our own path, choose our own direction…to become who we actually are!"