While motifs from Lewis Carol’s Alice In Wonderland recur, the tale of Mumbai-based Tram Theatre’s production of the same title is not entirely true to the original. The play starts off with four people trudging through the monotony of daily life - mopping, cleaning vessels, putting away clothes and working on the computer.
The actors switch places, continuing the motions to a rhythm playing in the background, building the tempo till the speed provides for comic effect, conveying frustration at the same time, till one of the actors breaks into a song commenting on the lack of colour in their lives (the actors are all dressed in black).
After much ado, they realise that they want to delve into their imaginations and explore as Alice once did. With a yellow ball with a smiley to represent her, she is portrayed as someone who liked to ‘jump, bounce and roll’.
A journey thus begins with the nameless girl, sometimes played by the ball and at others by Choiti Ghosh, falling through a tunnel, much like the rabbit hole in the original, artfully portrayed with the light of a torch from top on an otherwise dark set.
While the problem of ‘being the right size’, the mad tea-party and the Queen of Hearts appear, the girl’s destination seems to be the Secret Garden, which is visualised through shadow-play on a screen in the back. An object theatre production, a genre of theatre where inanimate objects are as important or meaningful as the animate, Alice In Wonderland heavily relies on props. The sets, lighting and the music complemented the play, while the actors Rakhi Prasad, Suraj Tomer and Vikas Baid, along with actor-director Choiti Ghosh, more than just held the audience’s attention during their performance at Ranga Shankara on December 1.
The play also had its interactive moments, where three mad hatters drinking tea, quizzed each other first, then the children, on proverbs like ‘Ghar ki murgi dal barabar’ using a packet of lentils, a tiny wooden house and a toy hen and ‘An apple a day keeps a doctor away’ with a doll all covered up in a blanket, a stethoscope and an apple. This play is sure to evoke giggles and laughter from the young ones and stimulate their imagination. Although it’s meant to be a children’s play, this 60-minute performance is one that is sure to keep your entire family entertained.