Finding Alice has taken a couple of months to devise an rehearse with the Claquer Impro Group. We meet every Monday evening for a couple of hours at the Junction Inn in Groombridge. The group were invited by Westerham Town Partnership to present something at their Summer Fair, now becoming an annual event, a legacy of the Community Play that sadly didn't happen because of funding. It ha, however clearly left an enthusiasm for community involvement. This years fair is called Talk of the Town and aims to raise money for a permanent heritage walk. Talk of the Town involved community members in costume playing characters from Westerham's past, and the town has a rich resident ancestry including Winston Churchill, General Wolfe,Gladys Aylward a missionary in China whose story is told in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Finding Alice was inspired by Alice Liddle the muse for Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland.
Some years ago I devised and produced a 'Mystery House' for a writers festival in Canada. This was a one minute theatre experience for one audience member at a time and was meant to inspire the visitors to create a story of their own. Finding Alice had the same intent and has something in common with the Problem Pictures the group have been developing for the Empty Galleries. This is a kind of Problem Play. The plot therefor needed to be somewhat ambiguous to provoke the audience into making sense of it through their own imagination and the skills most people have inherited through hearing, seeing and telling stories.
The audience purchased a ticket to Wonderland at a discount price on condition they deliver a letter to 'Whom it may concern" . They were given no further clues but were told they would simply know, but to very caucus about not giving it to the wrong person. They were conducted into a railway carriage by the Guard. The carriage was constructed inside a tent with suitcases suspended from the ceiling. Sitting in the carriage was the Man in paper suit from Alice through the Looking glass, other characters came and went through the brief five minute journey. Audience members were looking for clues as to who to give the letter to. Then... well to avoid spoilers, I won't go on. Maybe we will resurrect it some day soon.