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
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.
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'
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.