When Alice returns to Wonderland, her imaginary world is a little darker.
“I think I like it better than Alice in Wonderland,” says Port Coquitlam’s Anna Pothecary, who like Alice, is on the cusp of adulthood.
“She has to become queen and defeat this bad, Red Queen but all she wants to do is get back home.”
Cast as the protagonist in a musical adaptation of Through the Looking Glass, 17-year-old Pothecary relates to young Alice’s journey.
Brilliantly adapted by Chris Blackwood, this version melds stories from the original Alice with its sequel to create a new tale, complete with a quest.
Blackwood uses the idea of a young girl on the verge of becoming an adult to structure a new story from the episodic nightmare she is caught in.
Whilst keeping close to the characters that inhabit Lewis Carroll’s nonsense, Through The Looking Glass-the musical give them a different purpose on Alice’s new journey. They become pieces in the game that she plays to become an adult, all representing something to be learnt on her rites of passage.
Alice’s main adversary, the Red Queen,represents the childlike traits she is about to escape and the defeat of the Red Queen is the final task that allows Alice to move on.
A little unsure at first, Pothecary admits she “kind of relate to Alice.”
“I think some of her thought processes are a bit like mine. She’s kind of imaginative, like me,” she says with a shy smile, adding she’s definitely more mature than tantrum-prone Alice.
Her brother Matt, who shares co-directing duties in this Xtreme Theatre production, crafted a back story to help her embody Alice on stage.
“It’s a process of discovery with every character,” says Matt Pothecary.
“It’s working with them to bring out their character and helping them to understand who their character is, where they are coming from and what matters to them that helps them inform their choices on stage.”
As the Tweedles, Katherina Holm, 14 and Mateo Pires, 17, have capitalized on their close friendship.
“We feed off each other pretty well,” says Holm, a Mission resident who plays Tweedledee.
In this version, the Tweedles are fraternal twins and lumberjacks, not overweight and pudgy.
The directors chose lumberjacks to contrast of a tough exterior, with the Tweedles’ silly dialogue and silly actions.
It makes for great comedy.
Just like Alice, both Pires and Holm were tasked with creating their own past for the Tweedles.
Pires imagined the twins had not seen any other people in a long, long time.
So when Alice shows up, we put on a show, he explains.
“We think really highly of ourselves,” says Pires, who compares his Tweedledum to a “Gaston-esque” character from Beauty and the Beast.
For the cast of 45, who have been rehearsing since the beginning of the school year, the long hours and occasional stress have been worth it.
The musical opens next week at the ACT and Pires says once he gets on stage, everything changes.
“You get pumped up and go for it,” he says.
– with files from Alice the Musical
• Through the Looking Glass plays at the ACT in Maple Ridge May 15 to May 17 at 7 p.m. and May 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. For tickets, call 604-476-2787 or visit actmapleridge.org.