Pearson High School goes down the rabbit hole with 'Alice in Wonderland'

Mad with imagination

Pearson High School is performing an adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Gemma Bisseker, 15, plays Alice, Courtné Grootboom, 15, is the caterpillar, Belinda Taljaard, 18, is the Mad Hatter and Jenna Greeff, 16, is the Cheshire cat
Pearson High School is performing an adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Gemma Bisseker, 15, plays Alice, Courtné Grootboom, 15, is the caterpillar, Belinda Taljaard, 18, is the Mad Hatter and Jenna Greeff, 16, is the Cheshire cat
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Weird, wacky and wild is the way Pearson High school pupils and their teacher have described their upcoming theatre production Wonderland –a play loosely based on the story of Alice in Wonderland.

With Alice still taking centre stage, the show will also incorporate elements from oldtime favourites Mary Poppins and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The play, devised and directed by local theatre personality and Pearson teacher Linda-Louise Swain, will star 30 Pearson pupils, sporting outrageous outfits.

This version of Alice in Wonderland is different to any other version showcased before, Swain said.

She described the play as a wild and wacky version of the already surreal story.

“I just wanted to make it more accessible for teenagers,” she said.

The play has many elements that are a far cry from the original story, including a female Mad Hatter played by matriculant Belinda Taljaard.

“It is the most over-the-top and wacky thing you will ever see.

“We’ve got so many different characters and so many different things and I really enjoy that because it allows you to create your own character,” Taljaard said.

Swain has also incorporated pop culture themes such as social media and “space muffins” for the caterpillar who takes on Rastafarian characteristics.

She has fused those elements with elements of Lux Radio (a radio versions of Broadway plays) and clothing of the steampunk genre.

Swain said almost all of the steampunk outfits had been created by the pupils themselves.

Steampunk is a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.

The pupils have incorporated heavily embellished top hats with metal elements, lots of copper and brass jewellery and leather belts to adopt the style.

All the musical elements and narrators will be visible for the audience to interact with.

Ngcali Simka, who is one of the narrators, said: “My role is to bring the audience along with Alice on her journey.

“I narrate the story so that the audience can be drawn into the story too.”

The overall message of the play is imagination and how that can open up new worlds.

“We should all just be able to have our own imagination and go wild.

“What is the world without imagination?” Swain asked.

She said that using one’s imagination could be great fun.

The cast includes Jayden Dickson, who will play the White Rabbit and Kiara Henderson who will play the role of the Queen of Hearts.

Henderson’s costume will include an over-the-top headpiece made by young artist Luke Redman.

The play will run from July 11 - 14 with tickets available at the school at R65 per person.

No reservations are required.

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