Alice and Company

“Who are you?” “I think you ought to tell me who you are first”.

Lewis Carroll's timeless classics about the redoubtable heroine Alice, written at the height of the Victorian era, are acknowledged as great books worldwide - treasure troves of characters, quotations and logical puzzles. They combine drama, mystery, fun and language games of all kinds. Unfortunately, Hollywood and the media often reduce them to farcical, meaningless encounters with fluffy white rabbits, etc.

Roger Jerome frames "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass" in their English setting, with a scary flavor and a rich sense of caricature. The characters, including the White Rabbit, the Duchess, the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat, the Hatter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee and Humpty Dumpty are depicted - as illustrated by John Tenniel - on large playing cards and the ending is a shower of cards when Alice wakes up.

Poems and songs are featured, including “You Are Old Father William”, the Lobster Quadrille, “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, and the audience participates by:

  • repeating “Wonderland” with creepy faces, hands and voice;
  • providing the rhythm and chorus for “Will You Walk a Little Faster?”;
  • sneezing as the Duchess recites “Speak Roughly to Your Little Boy”;
  • meowing each time the Cheshire Cat speaks;
  • mirroring the illustrative actions of “Jabberwocky”.

The section dealing with riddles has prizes of actual Victorian playing cards for children who can guess the riddles asked by Jerome and/or stump him with their own riddles.

“When is a baseball player like a criminal?”

The program has proved popular with family audiences in art-centers, libraries, colleges, as well as elementary schools. It offers children the chance to play and grapple with the subtleties and challenges of the English language – exactly what Lewis Carroll wanted!