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Robyn Hilt’s Alice Through the Looking Glass is a lively romp through Alice’s second adventure. This one-act version has a variable cast. Many roles can be doubled, if necessary. It is as easily performed in the classroom as on the stage. Downloadable PDF’s are available for purchase.
Alice enters a fantastical world by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. Just like a reflection, everything is reversed, including logic. Running helps you remain stationary, walking away from something brings you towards it. The main image of this fantasy is a giant chess board where the chessmen are alive and nursery rhyme characters exist.
Characters from the Lewis Carroll original
Through the Looking-Glass includes such verses as “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” the reversal of logic in language. It includes the well-known characters of Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee and The Red Queen: Off with her head!!!!!
Was it Real?
The story ends with Alice remembering the words of the Tweedle brothers, that everything may have been a dream of the Red King. If so, then Alice might herself be no more than a figment of his imagination. Ultimately, this play, like the book, dares us to question reality. The book ends with the line “Life, what is it but a dream?”
From the Play
Alice finds herself face to face with the Red Queen, and full in sight of the hill she had been so long aiming at.
Red Queen: Where do you come from? And where are you going? Look up, speak nicely, and don’t twiddle your fingers all the time. (Alice does as the Queen said.)
Alice: I have lost my way.
Red Queen: I don’t know what you mean by your way, all the ways about here belong to me—but why did you come out here at all? (In a kinder tone) Curtsey while you’re thinking what to say, it saves time.
Alice wonders a little at this, but she is too much in awe of the Queen to disbelieve it. The red queen looks at her watch.
Red Queen: Open your mouth a little wider when you speak, and always say “your Majesty.”
Alice: I only wanted to see what the garden was like, your Majesty—
Red Queen: That’s right, (patting Alice’s head which Alice doesn’t like at all) though, when you say “garden,”—I’ve seen gardens, compared with which this would be a wilderness.
Alice: I declare it’s marked out just like a large chessboard! (delighted) It’s a great huge game of chess that’s being played—all over the world—if this is the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it is! How I wish I was one of them! I wouldn’t mind being a Pawn, if only I might join—though of course I should like to be a Queen, best. (Glancing at the Queen who smiles back.)
Red Queen: That’s easily managed. You can be the White Queen’s Pawn, if you like, you’re in the Second Square to begin with: when you get to the Eighth Square you’ll be a Queen—
They run hand in hand, and the Queen goes so fast that it is all Alice can do to keep up with her.
Alice feels she cannot go faster, though she does not have breath left to say so. The most curious part of the thing is that the trees and the other things round them never change their places at all: however no matter how much faster they go, they cannot pass anything.
Alice: (puzzled) I wonder if all the things move along with us?
Red Queen: Faster! Don’t try to talk! (Not that Alice had any idea of doing that. She felt as if she would never be able to talk again, she was getting so much out of breath). Faster! (dragging Alice) Faster!
Alice: (panting) Are we nearly there?
Red Queen: Nearly there! Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster! (They run on in silence.) Now! Now! Faster! Faster!
Alice is exhausted. They stop, and she sits on the ground, breathless and giddy. The Queen props her up against a tree.
Red Queen: You may rest a little now.
Alice: Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!
Red Queen: Of course it is, what would you have it?
Alice: (panting) Well, in our country, you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.
Red Queen: A slow sort of country! Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!
Alice: I’d rather not try, please! I’m quite content to stay here—only I am so hot and thirsty!
Red Queen: I know what you’d like! (good naturedly) Have a biscuit?