It all began when the team (including 7 week old Finn!) re-convened in the rehearsal room to get started on creating the magical world of wonderland. Not before a cup of tea of course! "We're all mad mad mad here" is a quote from the fabulous production of Alice. This was the general feeling in rehearsal today as the actors played with the madness of scarf cats, turtle hats and book caterpillars.
Creative is an understatement when describing the rehearsal process. Every character has been brought to life through manipulating day to day objects. The characterisation of these objects are fantastic and were really beginning to feel full of life by the end of today's rehearsals. However this unique style does come with a price as we found today when actor Jack needed to 'lubricate his holes', in order for his fingers to fit inside a rugby ball to become a rabbit. However this was nothing compared to the chaffing that poor young Alice has encountered whilst jumping from a grandfather clock to a stack of books, multiple times! Her paint work has become a little patchy in some of her more delicate areas.
'Dreaming the Caterpillar into existence', has been a focal point today. Baby Finn has contributed enormously with his live snoring sound effects, adding that extra touch of dreamyness to the scene. Created from a Jacob's ladder of books; the Caterpillar has to be my favourite character. The way that Jack makes him grow and move is mesmerising and mystical; adding to the bizarre world that's gradually being revealed. His pipe and spectacles give him a noble but slightly insane appearance and as he speaks you begin to wonder what he's really smoking in that pipe.
The connection between the lands of dreams and reality have been cleverly thought out. At one point Alan dreams of Alice who dreams of Young Alice who falls asleep and dreams of the Caterpillar. This, as you can see has the potential to become very confusing. However using the puppets makes everything very clear as they signify the switch between reality and wonderland. For example in the run though today I noted a lamp in reality is just a lamp, but when in wonderland it suddenly becomes a woman and gets transformed into a fiery, hormonal and bad tempered Queen of Hearts. Another example is a ball of wool that Alice uses to knit with in the real world, that becomes a little dormouse, with an eerily scratchy voice.
Overall it's been a fab start to the wondrous weeks to come. 'Playing' has been the theme of today which has allowed the actors to have fun exploring and discovering successful accidents in the rehearsal room. Other than the odd pang of cramp from puppet holding and the re-appearance of a torn ligament from violently pulling the ears off a bunny rabbit it has been a great first day! I feel privileged to have been let into the magical world of the rehearsal room. I also feel privileged that baby Finn did me the honour of remaining vomit-less all day. Well done team! Roll on tomorrow.