Alice @ Wonderland: A Twist On a Classical Fairytale

Native Caribbean Foundation’s presentation of Alice@Wonderland is a new twist on a classical fairytale. In the adaptation, Alice is a texting, tweeting and Googling girl of the modern age. She is transported to the Wonderland of old, meeting the same characters present in the classic tale, like the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts. The musical will be staged at Queen’s Hall between February 12 and 14, with one public show on Valentine’s Day and three school shows.

Alice encounters the Mad Hatter | Photo Credit: Stephen Dalchan

Foundation CEO Marlon Espinoza said the play is the latest in a series of productions over the last three years which have been “fairy tales known and loved at all ages and stages. Our creative team looks for funny and engaging stories that can attract our target audience of primary and secondary school students, but still appeal to adults. The team ensures each production carries a powerful social message, and Alice@Wonderland seamlessly brings together the whimsy of the classical tale with the technology of today. This message culminates and becomes clear in the final song of the production.”

He said the productions were “purchased from a US-based company which specializes in theatre arts production for a wide range of audiences. This is a product that we wanted to share with local audiences towards spreading awareness of the performing arts and inculcating a range of skills in young people interested in the field.”

A scene from Alice @ Wonderland | Photo Credit: Stephen Dalchan

Espinoza said the process of putting the play together has been challenging but infinitely rewarding. “Logistics is always the main challenge, scheduling rehearsals, booking seats, providing refreshments, coordinating the fine details of bringing a production from page to stage. Rehearsal venue is a big challenge, and we must thank Presentation College and Peter Lockheart for their generosity in affording us the use of their music room. We do not solicit donations or sponsorships, as a policy, so pre-funding is also a challenge. However, the success of the shows have proven our business model works. We hope to venture into Caribbean-based events in the near future. The region is sorely lacking in performing arts as an industry and so by reaching out to the other islands we can build a wider community and even bring about a new avenue for creative business.”

The cast of Alice @Wonderland in rehearsal at Presentation College | Photo Credit: Stephen Dalchan

In 2016, the Foundation staged its first production The Big Bad Musical, in Naparima Bowl and NAPA, and in 2017, it staged Law and Order: C-rhyme and Pun-ishment, in SAPA and NAPA. Last year they staged Alice@Wonderland at Naparima Bowl and NAPA. All shows played to almost sold-out audiences, and Espinoza said the public response has been amazing.

“We have been building a loyal fan base consistently, with more schools attending each successive show. Our final south show at Naparima Bowl was absolutely sold out. Every seat! Our social media pages have grown steadily, and the number of children coming to auditions over the years has also increased. We anticipate that this is our best show yet. We have never done an evening show in North and it will definitely be an entertaining event to attend, especially the Valentine’s evening performance, seeing that the King and Queen have their little thing going on. We have also made a few tweaks to the show so it is definitely worth seeing again.”

Espinoza said he hopes the school children coming to the play “will see that the skills required for the performing arts do have a place in their lives towards their holistic development. The message of the story is a very relevant one in this age of social media, and will connect with the audience on a social and emotional level. It will leave you wanting to sing, dance and let your imagination run wild!”

Tickets are $40 for all shows, with a special price for couples of $60. Groups and families can get four tickets for $100. The school shows begin at 10 am on February 12, 13 and 14. The public show begins at 6:30 pm. For more information and to buy tickets, call or WhatsApp 682-2028 or 687-2939, call 363-8182, email or visit the Facebook page Native Caribbean Foundation.

The cast of Alice @ Wonderland after concluding their run at Naparima Bowl in 2018 | Photo Credit: Stephen Dalchan

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