Today I’m turning my blog over to a guest blogger, Elaine Campbell. Elaine Campbell is the author of There Once Was A Street Dog That Followed Me Home: The Beginning (which I’m currently reading and enjoying, look for a review coming soon) and My Friend Nick the Greek: Life in Las Vegas in the ’50s. A couple of weeks ago, Elaine and I began communicating through the World Literary Cafe and after much arm twisting, she agreed to review Allie In Wonderland for me (truth be told it wasn’t that much arm twisting.) Elaine has a background in theater and the performing arts, having been a LA movie kid, a dancer in Tony Bennett’s Las Vegas show on the fabled Strip, and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. After some years working in theatre, she enrolled at NYU. A teaching career followed, and later a stint as public relations director at a book publishing firm.
Okay after that introduction, I’m going to turn things over to Elaine:
Allie In Wonderland
by Elaine Campbell, author of There Once Was A Street Dog That Followed Me Home: The Beginning
Alice in Wonderland “in search of a soul” (to quote Carl Jung), kiboshed in our digital technological age. But not irretrievable.
This children’s play (though not really, it’s for everyone that hasn’t lost important childhood qualities), expertly written by Everett Robert, a master of dialogue, stagecraft and the use of word play) comes to us from the Heartland. It was originally performed by junior high school students at the Frontier Stage in Hill City, Kansas for an audience of mainly young children. As a special treat, this performance can be viewed in three parts onYouTube so after reading the play, which moves at a brisk pace, one has the opportunity of seeing the characters brought to life by a young group of junior high school, albeit accomplished, actors and witness the active participation and delightful reactions of the juvenile audience.
Alice has grown world-weary. She doesn’t want to be called Alice anymore because it is old-fashioned. She is now named Allie. Her hair is no longer golden—it is a dullish brown. She is so utterly wrapped up in her iPod, her laptop and texting that her former world of spring-like imagination has vanished. As stated by the character Cat, explaining Alice’s predicament to the audience: “Allie has forgotten HOW to dream.” And that is a crucial loss for us all. She doesn’t even remember her glorious adventure in Wonderland. As a consequence, the oddball, eccentric and magical characters she once dreamed up and gave existence to are wilting in an underground wasteland. Similar to the Fisher King scenario, there is a draught upon these depths, and a serious one. An immediate solution is imperative. These characters want to live, and only Alice can restore them to life.
How this is accomplished is the gist of this skillfully-written play by Everett Robert, whom I suspect shares many of the qualities of its original author, the great Lewis Carroll. Already established as an important Midwestern playwright, director and actor, his knowledge of theatre and even the love of it are evident in his creation.
Allie in Wonderland can be purchased from its publisher at Heartland Plays, Inc. in the “Children’s Theatre and Youth” Play Category link.
It’s not very long (three acts which flow quickly), this journey through fun and dilemma, absurdity and word play. And what a wonderful introduction it is to the videos waiting to be enjoyed. I came away from reading this play by making two resolutions: (1) to reread the original story; and (2) to make sure my imagination is given time to exercise itself each and every day of my life. Else I too might shrivel up and go looking for Alice to remedy.
Thanks for the review and the kind words Elaine! If you’d like to know more about Elaine, you can find her on Goodreads, her Amazon Author Page or on Twitter. Follow her, become a fan and look for my upcoming review of HER book There Once Was A Street Dog That Followed Me Home: The Beginning.