Never had I witnessed such a charming, clever, and thought-provoking production as Capital, Alice! until I saw it again, and the second edition was even better! It was originally written for the Vancouver Fringe Festival in 2010 by three first time playwrights and fellow UBC students, Emily Griffiths, Anoushka Ratnarajah, and Lau Sequins. The three friends sparked the idea while ‘riffing’ one afternoon in the Student Union Building in late 2009.
“We knew we wanted to do something anti-capitalist,” Sequins recalls.
During a little theatrical feminist improvising session, Anoushka Ratnarajah used the phrase “down the rabbit hole” and then, there it was, an anti-capitalist Alice in Wonderland Parody waiting to happen.
“So, we went to town on the idea.” Griffiths says.
The multitalented artists set out to co-write, direct, act, and sing in their own musical, satirical re-telling of the classic Alice in Wonderland adventure. In September 2010, the first rendition of the play was met with mixed reviews, but the three masterminds behind the script did not get discouraged by any negative comment or confused review. Instead, they took in all the feedback, sat with it, and decided to rework the entire script.
It didn’t happen all at once. Capital, Alice! has been evolving gradually over the last five years and over many long distance phone calls and skype dates. Because, just moments after their last performance of Capital, Alice! at the Fringe, Anoushka Ratnarajah was whisked away to attend Grad School in New York. For two years, the Capital, Alice! team kept in contact, and talked ‘character’ and ‘theme’ via skype.
“It’s really hard to do artistic collaborations long distance,” Ratnarajah admits.
When the three young women were finally reunited and all living in Vancouver again they were more than ready to prepare their script for a round two. They applied to UpInTheAir Theatre’s rEvolver festival and were accepted to do a staged reading of their revamped play in May of 2013. The script underwent some major changes for the event: whole scenes and characters were cut, and new characters, songs and dialogue were crafted.