“Alice: An Immersive Adventure,” the new production put on by The Electric Company Theatre, uses the outdoor space and gardens of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center to an exciting degree.
Brian Johnson, the company’s artistic director, said, “We’ve been working on immersive traveling projects for a while. We wanted to do something that would suit the grounds here. We wanted to pick something that would be conducive to allowing kids to wander the grounds and come and be a part of this magical space.”
From the Mad Hatter to the Queen of Hearts, these fictional characters roam the park guiding the audience through events of their choosing. Alice features a total of 22 actors and 15 crew members, and during the hour-long show, you will likely run into all of your favorites from the novel.
The audience members are given name tags at the start of the show. For example, the children’s names are written in bright sharpie as Alice, and the adults in the audience are written as Alice’s Friends.
The performance begins with an introduction from a fictionalized Lewis Carroll as he reads from his book, “Alice in Wonderland.” As he turns the page, he finds that the words in his novel have vanished. Upon realizing the disappearance of his words, he instructs the audience to help continue the story by wandering the garden.
Emily Border, who plays The Queen of Hearts, said through email, “I believe it’s so important to expose kids to all kinds of art, and that they are fully capable of appreciating and interacting with it. There is this idea that kid’s entertainment must somehow be watered down to be more accessible to your people, and that’s simply not true. It is so fun for me to see children react to and appreciate what we’ve worked so hard to bring them.”
A fun and active afternoon in the park with potato sack races and engaging performances, The Electric Company Theatre shows children that you can still have fun and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.
“We are the resident new theater company here at The Muck, so we’ll be doing a full season of shows here,” Johnson said. “In the first part of our season, we wanted an exciting show, and Alice became something we put together.”
The Muckenthaler House, now known as the Cultural Center, was built in 1925. The Spanish Colonial-style home is now used as a performance venue for events of all kinds. In the month of February, the space will feature jazz artists, pianists, and music lectures.
“Alice: An Immersive Adventure” will open to the public Feb. 19 – 21. The adventure begins at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. each morning.