ALICE'S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND
DESIGNING AND CREATING WONDERLAND
“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The world of wonderland belongs to countless generations before us, it has and continues to inform so many aspects of our culture and literature and visual aesthetics.
In the last decadethe visual tropes of victorana, absurdity and invention associated with Lewis Carrolls work have been abundant in contemporary culture, for the very simple reason that they are brilliant and endlessly open to re imaginings in the slightest of ways. We as a company, ever since we decided to do this show several years past have been set on re-imagining the world of Wonderland and all its strange idiosyncrasies. the hugest challenge for me as a designer has been to give our audience just enough of what they want, what they expect, whilst simultaneouslyspinning them round and turning them on their heads! Early on our our process, the element of oppression and tyranny that the people of wonderland are subject to led us down a path or uprising and espionage. This informed my work immensely; seeking out the details of what it must be like to be forced through the lunacy and bureaucracy of a place like Wonderland, or alternatively sneaking in under the fence, and exploring the joys and limitations of this through scale in a venue like the Vaults is a real adventure. We have build huge optical illusions, glasshouses, trains, rains and zoetropes, filled with the grotesque characters and creatures we created.
Wonderland is a place I love, that I've always wanted to visit. But i always felt, that it wouldn't be an easy place to be, that it would move around you and manipulate you, change its face, its paths and its allegiances - quite unlike the surprisingly smooth journey the heroine takes in Carroll’s world. And true to my instincts, or perhaps because of them, it has done exactly that. Im not certain that the wonderland I've designed is the wonderland i thought was somewhere in the back of my mind, but why should it be, it made itself clear very early on that it was its own beast, a stubborn ruler, a mercurial milliner, and an obstinate child.
What i can be completely certain of is how much we poured into this incredible show, all the details and the huge brush strokes, the joy of concoctingsuch incredible spaces and improbable characters in a fresh and exciting way, referencing my long loved artists and genres, with Carroll and Tenniel at the heart of it all. This is a truly bold production the likes of which wont have been seen before, due in no small part to the incomparable talent of our team of makers, thinkers, doers and dreamers who helped to build it- Thank you!
Here is a recently published article in Creative Review of an interview with Director/Writer Oliver Lansley and me.
A big stitch in the fabric of our Wonderland is the detail in the objects of the world, and the echoes of the Queen of Hearts tyrannical regime. A lot of these details were developed in collaboration with graphic designer and performer Alfie Boyd (one of our very own White Rabbits).
Click here or, on the image below to go to my illustration pages and see more...