Jonna Blode Hanno, Laura Thomasina Haynes and Mollie Macpherson from Three Trees Theatre talk about the inspiration and process behind their new play Alice which opens at the Landor Space in Clapham on January 9.
How would you describe the piece?
It's a devised piece inspired by Alice in Wonderland, focusing on Alice's journey into the confusing and somewhat absurd world of adulthood. The piece deals with controversial rumours about Lewis Carroll's relationship with Alice Liddell, for whom he wrote the book, but set in our time of #metoo and countless testaments of sexual abuse.
Why Alice in Wonderland?
Alice in Wonderland is such an iconic story, but after reading it we were most fascinated by the darkness in it, and Lewis Carroll's unique perspective on the world of adulthood. When the Weinstein scandal came out and #metoo started shaking the world we felt we had to join the discussion around responsibility and power in our own industry as so much of the controversy around Lewis Carroll is still so relevant.
Tell us about the process?
We cast everyone as different characters from the book but then examined what that creature could symbolise in our world today instead of having a literal portrayal. For example, we do not have the White Rabbit sat at Lewis Caroll's dinner table but instead take inspiration from the essence of his character. Led by our director Or Benezra-Segal we worked as a company to devise a play based on who these people are and where we thought the night would take them.
Just how important it is to get a great team together who all believe in the project and are willing to put in the work and treat each other with love and respect. There needs to be trust and devotion from everyone working so intensely and on such delicate subject matters. It's the only way to really make great art happen and we've been very lucky to have an amazing creative team and cast who just threw themselves into the project.
Why should people come and see Alice?
It's a very different, dark take on a familiar story. I think we've managed to make this iconic children's tale into something extremely important and relevant today. It's a night of laughter, fun and danger. The audience will feel like they are dining with the nine actors on stage and if they don't they'll be longing to be a part of the discussions, games and absurdity happening in front of them.