Next week the Wendy Whatmore Academy of Speech and Drama will commemorate the 75th jubilee of the school with a very special production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, directed by Ruvin De Silva.
Alice’s stumble through the rabbit hole and journey through Wonderland is a tale that has been told time and again, yet it finds new life every now and again thanks to the fascinating (if somewhat quirky) adaptations devised by creative souls. This version is actually a musical, say the organizers; the book was penned by Charles Turner with music and lyrics by Steven Moore.
The story is that of a young girl, Alice, who falls asleep during a game of solitaire and the adventure she has in her dream. She has strange encounters with a series of characters such as the White Rabbit, the Duck, the Dodo, the Gryphon and Mock turtle, the March Hare, the Mad Hatter and the twins Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. She also meets the Duchess, the Cheshire Cat, and the formidable Queen of Hearts.
These are characters children have grown up with over many decades-the production, then, will be a walk down memory lane for the adults and an exciting new discovery for the kids.
The young cast of 40+ students from the academy come from 17 different schools in and around Colombo. The cast is aged 8-18 years (with many of the little ones taking to the big stage for the first time) and stars Daniella Perera as Alice, Yalindee Premarathne as the White Rabbit and Dehara Waidyasekara as the Cheshire Cat. Laxmi Wijenathan plays the Mad Hatter while Anuki Goonewardane will take on the role of the March Hare.
The play will be backed by live music from a 6-piece musical ensemble. Ruvin De Silva directs with assistance from Vindhya Fernando, supported by chief coordinator for the play Tamara Holsinger and her team.
“This production is a dedication to the wonderful Mrs. Wendy Whatmore whose dream of making the English language accessible to all pioneered the movement of speech and drama in this country,” says her daughter (and Principal of the Academy) Wendy Holsinger. “We look forward to a fabulous run.”
‘Alice in Wonderland’ will be staged on 17 and 18 October at the Lionel Wendt from 7 pm onwards. Tickets and box plan at the venue.