1 July 2012

South Africa: Finding Alice

Photo: Cue
Student sharp-shooters

A nice girl with a nasty habit. This is how director and choreographer Owen Lonzar labels the lead character in his adaptation of the novel Alice in Wonderland, which is called Alice who? This ain't Wonderland.

Combining literature and dance, two adaptations of Lewis Carroll's novel will be shown at this year's Festival. One being Lonzar's version as well as Where's Alice?, a Cape Town production by Starlight Studios.

Lonzar describes his depiction of the story as being dark, wacky and innovative. In this adult-imaginary dance variation, the girl who goes down the rabbit hole is a drug addict with a boyfriend who tries to get her out of the habit.

"My aim was never to retell the story," Lonzar said, explaining how the play's model came about. "I sort of had the concept in my head and worked around it. It's not a work shopped piece, I never work that way," he continued, adding that he preferred to choreograph on his own.

"The producer, Grace Meadows had quite an impact on the production, but it definitely wasn't work shopped."

Where's Alice? is a contemporary version of the tale performed to modern and rock music.

"I never thought of it as being a children's play," director Colleen Kitching said. "Here it seems to be put into that category."

Created and performed for the first time last year, Kitching tells of how she had to revise the production as some of her dancers matriculated and left for university.

Although the two stories seem different from each other, both are based on the original novel's literary archetypes: following nice little Alice on an adventurous rollercoaster ride, the endings are bound together by the words of Lewis Carroll: "Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it."

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