Prepare to tumble into a world full of magic and creativity this weekend with the opening of Binghamton University’s main stage production, “Alice in Wonderland.” This well-loved story, directed by Michael Toomey, premieres at 8 p.m. on April 27 with additional performances at 8 p.m. on April 28, May 4 and May 5, and at 2 p.m. on May 6 in the Watters Theater.
“Alice in Wonderland” is the story of Charles L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the three Liddell sisters. One day in 1862, Alice Liddell, one of the three sisters, demands that Dodgson tell them a story instead of teaching them their math lesson. He then begins to spin the tale of “Alice in Wonderland,” which comes to life for Alice as she spots and follows a white hare, eventually tumbling down a hole into a world of her own creation.
Though many of us may be familiar with the plot of this childhood classic, this show is an original piece devised by our very own Binghamton University peers.
Throughout this past year, the cast and crew of “Alice in Wonderland” has done research on both the stories of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.” Rehearsals, coupled with a class in the fall taught by Toomey, were comprised of researching the lives of Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell.
“I work a great deal in the professional world with devising new works and I have always wanted to create a new adaptation,” Toomey said. “It’s such a popular story and yet very few people have really read both ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass.’ In class we would improv, write scenes and play with ideas that people brought in. It was basically a lot of playing.”
The central theme behind the enchanting events in the play is the story of a young girl finding her way and discovering herself as she grows up. Laura Potel, a sophomore majoring in theater, plays the main character, Alice Liddell.
“My character, Alice Liddell, is exploring the world of Wonderland and growing up throughout the course of the show,” Potel said. “In order to prepare for this role I did a lot of research on Alice’s life. I also collected images, music and poetry that reminded me of the world we are playing in.”
The students built the show around the individual talents that the cast brought to the table. This includes different types of dance, singing and musical instruments. Every piece of music and dance in this show is an original work created during the fall class.
In addition to creating the script, the ensemble has fashioned both a set and elaborate, trick costumes that cater to the abnormal events in the show.
The character of Charles Dodgson is played by Andrew Bryce, a sophomore majoring in theater. Bryce believes the audience will take something away from the play.
“Because it’s an original piece of theater that has never been done before, they’ll be seeing the world premiere of something their fellow students created,” Bryce said. “It’s also a visually amazing and interesting piece, and has a great emotional core to its story. There’s something really cool crafted here in terms of entertainment.”
Tickets for “Alice in Wonderland” will be available at the ticket window outside of Watters Theater. Tickets cost $8 for students with a valid Binghamton ID, $14 for general admission and $12 for faculty, staff and seniors.