Salvador Dali inspires college production of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’

(Featured photo: Melanie O’Meara discusses a scene with Destiny Barrett. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News)

Watching a play in elementary school led Destiny Barrett down a lifelong rabbit hole.

“I’ve always been a little obsessed with Alice in Wonderland,” said Barrett, who appears as narrator Alice in Augusta University’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which will be performed Nov. 9-12 at the Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre. “When I was in elementary school, the fifth graders did “The Trial of Alice, and I never got the chance to do it.”

Since attending T. Harry Garrett Elementary School, Barrett has seen multiple adaptations of the Lewis Carroll novels as well as read the originals.

 She’s excited to finally be part of a show based on Wonderland.

Students rehearse “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’ Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

 “I like how much it keeps hold of the actual story because a lot of my lines are actually from the story,” said Barrett.

Melanie Kitchens O’Meara, Associate Professor in the Augusta University Department of Art and Design, worked with two students to create this stage adaptation.

“We wanted to do chamber theater and maintain the narrator,” said O’Meara.

Instead of one narrator, however, there are multiple narrators – each representing another character in the production. Most of the actors play more than one role.

“Who they are gives you a hint of who they might become. ‘Definitely Not Alice’ is our Carroll figure on stage. ‘Not, Not Alice’ is the Mad Hatter,” she said.

O’Meara drew some inspiration for her sets and costume design from Salvador Dali’s 1969 illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

She’d discovered the book while traveling years ago.

“We used surrealism as a lens for the entire production,” she said.

She includes characters in the production that are often left out of other adaptations; among them are the Duchess and the Chicken.

Antonio Fernandez, who plays Bill the Chicken and the King of Hearts said he’s been working to get mannerisms and a voice that would sound like a chicken.

The chicken appears as a juror in the Queen’s Court in the book.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 9-11 and at 3 p.m. Nov. 12. A tea party will be held following the Sunday matinee. Tickets are $10 for general admission $7 for military, senior adults and alumni and free for students and children.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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