Becoming ALICE

Becoming ALICE

While there wouldn’t be a show without Alice, it truly comes to life with all the wonderfully eccentric characters that inhabit Looking Glass Land...

Alice Liddell is an iconic character who has been portrayed hundreds of times on stage, screen, and even in video games. So many different versions of Alice to study, and I saw none of them. I often find myself easily influenced by the acting choices made by others, so deliberately chose not to watch any of the Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass adaptations so that I could try to provide a portrayal of the character that was unique and true to the vision of the director, Barry Brown.

I had the opportunity to speak to Barry about his vision for Alice before my audition and one thing he said has really stuck with me:

“Alice is the only adult in the whole show.”

This statement, as I interpret it, means that, in a sea of nonsense, she must behave like a real person would. She must be believable. For the audience to engage with the show, they need to relate to it in some way, and Alice is the link, bringing them along with her as she travels through Looking Glass Land. As such, my primary source of inspiration for the character of Alice was the real Alice Liddell who inspired Lewis Carroll to write in the first place, but also the Victorian era with its social restrictions within which she lived.

Life for Victorian women was heavily restricted. They had fewer rights than their male counterparts and had to live by a strict code of behaviour and etiquette. Such silly rules as - never offering your hand first when being introduced to a man, never indulging in long arguments, and avoiding proverbs and puns at all costs. Imaging myself in the shoes of someone who has to abide by these rules, I can understand Alice’s frustration and desire for freedom and adventure. Using this research as a base for the character allowed me to then add layers and quirks to make her an interesting and well-rounded person.

Photo by Paul Ashley Photography

These quirks can be extended to the costume for Alice as well. Working with the costume, hair and makeup team to bring Alice to life has been a dream. Her style can be described as “of the period” but with a twist. A bustle skirt, high neck blouse, and corset all being completely normal clothing items at the time but, in contrast to the outfits of normal women in Victorian society, not worn in their intended way. All tying in nicely with the theme of Alice yearning to be different and to live by her own rules.

This is a production of firsts for me. This is my first production with Bawds, my first time performing in a lead role at the ADC, and my first time singing on stage. It’s taken me a while to settle into the group and gain confidence, and I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been moments where I’ve thought “I can’t do this”, but I am thankful for all the support I’ve received from the cast and crew to help me through.

While there wouldn’t be a show without Alice, it truly comes to life with all the wonderfully eccentric characters that inhabit Looking Glass Land. Everyone, cast and crew, has worked so hard to make this a fantastic show and I really hope our audience enjoys watching it as much as I have working on it.

Alice through the Looking Glass opens next week at the ADC Theatre

Tuesday 06 - Saturday 10 December 2022, 7.45PM
Saturday 10 December 2022, 2.30PM