As soon as it begins, Wonderland, directed by Rebecca Carrol ’15, sucks the audience into an incredible, fantastical land. Framed by a breathtaking set designed by Yoo-Jin Shin ’18 and Ziyi Yang ’18, Wonderland is an interactive play that allows viewers to experience this Lewis Carroll’s mystical world first hand. Within minutes, the audience is left to explore the grounds and interact with the various characters. From there, a dramatic plot unfolds as viewers move from conversation to conversation.
One of the play’s most striking features is the integrity of its actors. Every performer commits completely to their role, adopting various idiosyncrasies and never breaking character for the entirety of the show. The cast members’ performances are unbelievably strong, even during moments in which they are not in the spotlight. Each character is interesting on their own, which can perhaps be accredited to Wonderland‘s unique writing process.
Described as a “devised” play, each member of the “Wonderteam” (which includes the cast and crew) helped create a script for every cast member. Because of this process, referred to by Carrol as “devising and conquering,” at any given moment, every cast member can be found behaving according to what can almost be described as their own personal, ongoing storyline.
As viewers hop from character to character, they also almost switch between intertwined mini-plays, complete with their own dialogues and monologues. This combination of individually functioning characters and the larger, overarching plot creates for a multi-tiered play in which the characters are as interesting as the central plot itself.
Adding to the excitement are the lighting, designed by Grant Glovin ’16 and Dan Rapuano ’17, and sound effects, coordinated by Jonathan Adam ’16. Additionally, the characters are adorned with dramatic costumes, designed by a team led by Sofia Kadieva ’16 and Nika Salazar ’16.
The show lasts for about an hour, which is long enough for the story to fully develop but short enough that you’re not standing and walking around for too long. Throughout the hour, viewers will experience many (literal) twists and turns that will (again, literally) keep them on their toes.
While you’re in Wonderland, don’t be afraid to check out another area of the set after a couple of minutes, even if characters in one area are still in dialogue, since the most important plot elements are typically discussed within the first few minutes. Expect to be jumping around constantly, as the plot’s development depends largely on your movement from character to character.
Overall, Wonderland is a truly unique theatrical experience. The power of storytelling falls into the audience’s hands, as their actions are what move the plot forward. The audience is immersed in the story in a way unparalleled by traditional theatre practices, making for an especially resonant experience.
Showtimes are: tonight, February 6th at 8:00 p.m and 9:30 p.m.; February 7th at 8:00 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.; February 8th at 3:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.; and February 9th at 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets will be available ~for free~ at the door an hour before each show.