Don't You Alice Me (Once Again)
Don't You Alice Me (Once Again)
A Jump into a Hole of Nonsense, the Ultimate Space of the Play
The idea for the White Rabbit Cabaret was contributed by the Maribor Drama artistic director, Aleksandar Popovski, who has envisioned Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland as a platform for creating devised theatre projects bringing forth bold and innovative artistic expression and defying established theatre practices.
Actors of the SNT Drama Maribor, Nataša Matjašec Rošker and Petja Labović, took the oeuvre by Lewis Carroll as a point of departure for their “duo project” Don’t You Alice Me (Once Again) for the White Rabbit Cabaret. Their main premise was a fact that Carroll was the first (and still an undisputed) master of the nonsense literature. His classical 1865 masterpiece Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, an archetypal example of the nonsense genre, was the starting point of their jump into the rabbit’s hole. A journey through a familiar story is just an abstract associative framework that opens up the field where bridging the generational gap and divergencies between actors and creators take place. In turn, the roles in the devised theatre performance, divided between a woman and a young man, assume many forms, such as Rabbit, Angel, Tempter, Seafarer, as well as non-Alice, a woman in her mature years, who is still unwilling to accept her age.
The project, which was about to come out of the “hole” in the previous season, has undergone many transformations during the “corona” time of social distancing, incorporating many notions and motifs from literature, film, music, visual art and movement. In the rehearsal process, the actors were given, mostly indirectly, tasks by a number of directors, who have opened new doors and broadened horizons with their ideas. Through the fluctuation of witty, poetic, sharp, frenetic, documentary and surrealist contrasts, the actors discovered many neuralgic points of human existence that exist in linguistic pluralism. Falling into a “black hole of theatre” thus opened us a comprehensive inventory of imagination, beauty, spatial coexistence, leisure, insights, and, above all, our need for expressing anger, distress, desires, longings and hopes.
We, humans, are the only beings who have this unusual need to tell ourselves stories, real or fictional because we want to understand and get to know ourselves and the world around us. We like stories that have well-thought characters, a logical sequence of events, a solid structure … blah blah blah – nonsense. “A really good story is bright and unpredictable and, above all, it comes straight from the heart,” says Salman Rushdie.
Ooooh … Feelings, feelings, feelings, emotions, feelings, feelings. They make me sick to my stomach, they make me want to throw up.
It has only just begun!
I cannot finish my story until I get to the end. And if I am to understand my ending, I should return to the beginning.
So, let’s start at the beginning. Once upon a time, there was one girl and then she went somewhere and she hasn’t come back ever since.
No, no, no, these are not the right words. You must remember the right words.
It’s not your turn yet.
I only want to ask, if I am to survive my death.
Yes, you will. But only if you show me a magic trick.
»You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.« Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Thank you Tarkovsky, Godard, Fellini, Kafka, Dolar, Marx, Hegel, Cortázar, Shakespeare, Rushdie, von Trier, Bach, Cave, Dietrich, Zucchero …