150 years of Alice in Wonderland: nursery-surreal, elixirs, lobster quadrilles

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 25, 2015
The Disney production of Alice Through the Looking Glass

The Disney production of Alice Through the Looking Glass

Tomorrow, November 26 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, the nursery-surreal that Charles Ludwidge Dodgson (or Lewis Carroll) wrote in three months flat, complete with all those anthropomorphic characters and logical puzzles.

The celebrations are extensive and well placed to mine the event’s commercial potential. There are plays, films, exhibitions and festivals in many parts of the world. In Brooklyn for instance, there’s an immersive play ‘Then She Fell’ with an abundance of skeleton keys and special elixirs for the audience. As in Carroll’s story, imbibing from a bottle marked “Drink Me” opens the door to many adventures.

At the British Library in London, there’s the ‘Festival of the Spoken Nerd’ and there are Tea Parties a la the Mad Hatter’s, Lobster Quadrilles, and March Hare Polkas scattered around the US.

It makes me smile to remember the first couple of times I read ‘Alice in Wonderland’, when she was swimming through the pool of her  own tears and finding a mouse next to her, politely makes conversation in French (because it might be a French mouse). Her first question, as is entirely to be expected by a child studying French in school, was “Où est ma chatte?” but the mouse gets seriously disturbed by being asked the whereabouts of her cat.

Carroll’s story is universal for all that it is unique.