Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, adapted by Diane Vanden Hoven

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Download Alice in Wonderland from Voices in the Wind Audio Theater

Voices in the Wind Audio Theater, 9 June 2013
This one-hour adaptation of the Carroll classic was constructed in the form of a mock-odyssey in which Alice (Georgia Lee Schultz) encountered a positive rogues' gallery of eccentrics, all of whom possessed idiosyncratic ways of speaking that she could hardly understand.  Nonetheless this remained a good-hearted version of the classic; we never felt that she would come to any harm, and when she returned to normal life, talking with her sister (Alexandra Poole), we felt that she had experienced nothing more than a few uncomfortable dreams.
Nonetheless this revival captured the contradiction lurking at the heart of Carroll's source-text between the respectable, ordered life of Victorian middle class society and the fantastic potential lurking underneath.  With her penchant for reciting her multiplication tables, and talking about what she had studied (French, maths, etc.) Alice was the perfect representative of the well brought-up girl.  However her pretensions to logic were gleefully parodied by the March Hare (Michael Dick) and the Mock Turtle (Bill Tye).  The Duchess (Barbara Rosenblat) repeated the phrase "off with his head" over and over again without understanding what it actually meant.  In the world of Wonderland, words meant nothing and everything; anyone could use them how they wished.  
Through ingenious use of doubling (Bob Telfer, Rosenblat and Tye each played four roles), the production also emphasized the fluidity of identity in Wonderland.  There was no such thing as a fixed character (a staple of Victorian literary culture); anyone could play any kind of part they wished.  This gave the production an almost Modernist feel, looking forward to a period some four decades after the book's composition (1865), when writers and artists questioned those stable entities of 'realism' and 'coherence.'
Schultz's Alice was the fulcrum of the entire revival as she not only narrated the story but communicated her thoughts to listeners in asides.  It was a tribute to her acting skill that she came across as a level-headed personality, someone who remained distinctly unfazed by what was happening around her.  Hence her ability to treat the entire journey as a dream at the end.  She also had a good singing voice; her song "My Garden Back Home" summed up her yearning to return to the world of  respectability.