For three nights, from February 4-6, directors Corin James and Amy Simpson, along with a cast of over 80 students, transformed the children’s story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into an exceptionally-produced and meticulously-crafted play.
To create Alice in Wonderland – the story we all know and love – the directors drew inspiration from a number of sources, from the recent Alice in Wonderland film to ballet renditions and the classic Disney cartoon.
The script, originally used for a production of the Seattle Children’s Theatre, introduces a variation to the traditional Alice in Wonderland story and allows for more roles to accommodate a large cast and make the performance even more vivid.
The directors seemed to have taken a more surrealist approach when creating the play by juxtaposing the abstract with reality. The play took a fresh approach to the story (as do most of Dulwich’s productions).
As reflected in the set, the entire performance was inspired by the contrast between reality and imagination, and sustained the concept that Wonderland was fabricated by Alice in her mind. This elaborate direction was applied to even the most microscopic of details, and allowed for more complex scenes. Even this detail applied to the overall theme of logic and reality versus imagination.
The students involved in the production must also be commended for the success of the play. While directed and assisted by teachers, the acting, lighting and set were largely student-led.
For example, the elaborate set was created by DCB’s own high school art student, Tiffany Ng. Consisting of a deteriorating chessboard, the set reflected the underlying theme of logic versus the illogical and symbolized reality shattering in convergence with Alice’s imaginings.
The most impressive aspect of the production was the cast, comprised of students from Years 7 to 12. Ensemble performances were required in several scenes, which required students to perform in sync with great precision.
As stated by Director Amy Simpson, “what [the play]is about is the ensemble.” The ensemble gave off an overwhelming sense of unity in scenes such as the opening and that of the Jabberwocky.
The play and everyone involved in it deserved the standing ovations and applause received on each night of the engagement.
Michelle Jong is a 16-year-old Year 12 student at Dulwich College Beijing and has been attending Dulwich since Year 4. From China and the US, she has been living in Beijing her entire life. Her favorite subjects are English, History and Economics.
To see more photos from Alice in Wonderland, see our online photo gallery.
Photo courtesy of DCB