Childhood is the paradise we all appear to have lost, but where none of us has actually ever been. The yearning for this lost wonderland is expressed in Lewis Caroll‘s Alice tales and in the popular success that they still have so many years later. But the childish fantasies that we find here also harbour beneath all their alluring whimsy the bitter cruelties that are part of our childhood experience, which we tend to erase from our memories. In Robert Wilson‘s and Tom Waits‘ Alice these Victorian fantasies are replayed as bittersweet realities of the actual lives of the author Dodgson and his muse Alice and are revealed as still being alive today in our own minds.
Alice combines and mixes two stories: one is about the Victorian fun fair Wonderland with its surface innocence; the other is about Charles Dodgson, the inhibited and speech impaired clergyman and mathematician at Christ Church College Oxford and his erotic dream life. The fun fair shows its darker underside and reveals a surreal freak show. Tom Waits called it a “fever dream” or a “time poem” with “adult songs for children, or children’s songs for adults”.
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