Alice - By Paul Schmidt To go skating on your name Taken without permission from the Yale School of Drama And by tracing it twice magazine, Theater V.26 #3 1996. I fell through the ice Of Alice Prologue There's only Alice An empty space. One by one, identical figures enter as During his song, ALICE LIDDELL appears stage right behind CHARLES DODGSON. They move in silence. Finally: the black cloth. We see only her head, which moves along the black cloth toward the camera. At the end of the song, she leaps into the little chair. DODGSON disappears beneath the black CHARLES DODGSON My head hurt... My head... cloth. ENSEMBLE (In various voices) Act 1 Head Heat Heat Beat Beat Boat KNEE 1. AN AFTERNOON AT CHARLES DODGSON'S Boat Bolt Bolt Molt DODGSON, the photographer, hidden beneath a large black Molt Malt cloth, takes pictures of ALICE. The lens of his old-fashioned Malt Halt box camera extends slowly and menacingly toward her. Halt Hart Hart Hurt Hurt... ALICE Stick. Stuck. Stock-still. Yes, I promise that I will. DODGSON My head hurt. Tick. Tock. Time will tell. Hope of heaven, fear of hell. one by one, the figures leave the stage. The last figure brings on a small chair with head and arm rests, and places it downstage left. From downstage right a large old-fashioned box camera on That's the way. a tripod moves slowly toward the chair, trailing an enormous billow of black cloth. The camera stops beside the chair and DODGSON emerges from beneath the cloth. No one in this empty house. Mr. Dodgson, I'm your mouse. DODGSON (Sings.) Stand still. Stunned stone. Have no wishes of my own. It's dreamy weather we're on You wave your crooked wand Along an icy pond That's the way. With a frozen moon A murder of silhouette crows Left alone from six to seven. I saw... All good children go to heaven. And the tears on my face And the skates on the pond Spell Alice Chase the chickens, choke the child. I'll disappear in your name Touch my shoulders, wish me wild. But you must wait for me Somewhere beneath the sea That's the way. There's the wreck of a ship Your hair is like meadow grass On the tide I'm a perfect Anglo-Saxon, And the raindrops on my window Aren't you? And the ice in my drink Have you got a code of honor Baby all I can think of That will do? Is Alice That will do, Mr. Dodgson, Arithmetic, Arithmetoc, That will do. I turn the hands back on the clock That will do! How does the ocean rock the boat How did the razor find my throat DODGSON emerges from under his black cloth as the WHITE The only strings that hold me here RABBIT, and sets off a huge flash. ALICE leaps through the Are tangled up around the pier wall behind her. The WHITE RABBIT picks up his camera and And so a secret kiss exits right. Brings madness with the bliss And I will think of this When I'm dead in my grave SCENE I. DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE Set me adrift and I'm lost in your hair But I must be insane ALICE falls down the rabbit hole; numerous objects fall past LILY And of course you are what you smell like. her. She sees a mirror with her name written on it. The mirror breaks and her name is lost. The WHITE RABBIT stands by his ALICE Little girls shouldn't smell at all. That's it, I'm a little camera watching her. girl! WHITE RABBIT (Sings) DAISIES What's your name? What's your name? What's your name? ...but I must be insane To go skating on your name ALICE I had a name this morning, but now it's gone. And by tracing it twice I fell through the ice Of Alice DAISIES Nameless? Shameless! Shameless! There's only Alice ROSE But of course a name means nothing. As the song ends, ALICE comes to rest beside a little glass table. She has landed in the WHITE RABBIT's house. The LILY (Sings) WHITE RABBIT picks up his camera, goes through a door, and disappears. ALICE attempts to go through the door, but it shrinks to a tiny opening. ALICE stretches out on the floor and Someday the silver moon and I peers through. She sees a beautiful flower garden beyond, but Will go to Dreamland cannot reach it. I will close my eyes And wake up there in Dreamland But tell me who will put flowers ALICE (Sings) On a flower's grave Who will say a prayer Hell above and heaven below Will I meet a China rose there All the trees are gone In Dreamland The rain has such a lovely sound Or does love lie bleeding To those who are six feet underground In Dreamland Are these days gone forever and always The leaves will bury every year And no one knows I'm gone. If we are to die tonight Is there moonlight up ahead And if we are to die tonight Live me golden tell me dark Another rose will bloom. Hide from graveyard John But the moon is full here every night And I can bathe here in his light. For a faded rose Will I be the one that you save I love when it showers The leaves will bury every year But no one puts flowers And no one knows I'm gone. On a flower's grave The WHITE RABBIT crosses the room and sets a bottle on the As one rose dies another blooms little glass table. It says "Drink Me." After some hesitation, It's always been that way ALICE does. She begins to shrink: the table grows to giant size, I remember the showers and the bottle in her hand gets bigger and bigger, and the little But no one puts flowers hole in the wall becomes a door again. ALICE walks into the On a flower's grave flower garden. The song reduces the FLOWERS to tears. Suddenly we hear a KNEE 2. THE GARDEN OF LIVE FLOWERS loud chomping noise. The FLOWERS wilt and vanish. ALICE looks around and sees a giant mushroom. ALICE comes upon a bed of flowers: LILY, ROSE, and two DAISIES. They are humming to themselves, but they fall silent SCENE 2. ADVICE FROM A CATERPILLAR and bend away as she approaches. ALICE tries to escape through a door in the mushroom, but it ROSE Who are you? closes. A voice calls to her, and she discovers a CATERPILLAR seated upon the mushroom, smoking a pipe. DAISIES Who are you? Who are you? Who are you? CATERPILLAR Speak, boy! Where do you come from? ALICE I'm... I'm... I'm afraid I'm not sure who I am. ALICE But I'm a little girl... at least, I though I was... ROSE (She leans toward ALICE) You don't smell like anything. CATERPILLAR Thinking has nothing to do with it. Either you are or you aren't. ALICE I'm little. That's all I know. I want to grow. Table-top Joe, Table-top Joe Now everyone knows Table-top Joe CATERPILLAR Up, you mean? The CATERPILLAR grows larger and larger. ALICE knocks frantically at the door in the mushroom, as the ALICE What other way is there? CATERPILLAR's body engulfs the stage. CATERPILLAR Oh, lots. You could grow down, like roots. KNEE 3. FISH AND FROG You could grow long, like me. You could grow fat, like a big pig. Grow in, like a toenail. Grow out of your clothes, grow into your shoes.... You could grow boring, even. Why not do as I ALICE stands before a door and knocks repeatedly. A footman, do? Grow grand! I spin my cocoon, and grow larger and FISH, enters with a letter, and knocks at the door. It is opened larger.... by another footman, FROG, They pass the letter back and forth between them, the door is opened and closed, but ALICE can't manage to get through. ALICE And turn into a butterfly! FISH For the Duchess. An invitation from her Majesty to play CATERPILLAR No, a butterfly is only an idea, an ideal. croquet. Caterpillars are facts, hard facts, You know what happens to people who believe in ideals? Listen! FROG From her Majesty. An invitation for the Duchess to play croquet. Sings FISH An invitation. For the Duchess to play croquet form her Table-top Joe, Table-top Joe, Majesty. Everyone knows Table-top Joe Table-top Joe FROG An invitation. From her Majesty to play croquet for the Duchess. Well his mama didn't want him On the day he was born Born without a body FISH To play croquet. An invitation from her Majesty for the He got nothing but scorn. Duchess. But he always loved music FROG To play croquet. An invitation from her Majesty for All he had was his hands the Duchess. And he dreamed he'd be famous And he'd work at The Sands They continue this ad libitum, tearing both the invitation and the dialogue into ever smaller pieces. Finally FISH leaves, and the Table-top Joe, Table-top Joe door closes. FROG sits down idly. Everyone knows Table-top Joe ALICE How do I get through that door? He had trouble with the pedals But he had a strong left hand FROG That depends which side of it you're on. And he could play Stravinsky On a baby grand. ALICE I'm on the outside, obviously. Table-top Joe, Table-top Joe Everyone knows Table-top Joe FROG Too bad. If you were on the inside, I could let you out. He said, I'm gonna join the circus ALICE But I want to get in! 'Cause that's where I belong And he went to Coney Island Singing this song. FROG What for? Everybody on the inside wants to get out. ALICE Why? And they gave him top billing In the Dreamland Show He had his own orchestra FROG Because they're all mad inside. Starring Table-top Joe ALICE They don't seem quite sane on this side, either! And the man without a body Proved everyone wrong He was rich and he was famous FROG That too. And he was where he belonged. Singing ALICE If a door is there, it's meant to be opened! FROG Open it then. ALICE But I'm not all alone in the house any more. I'm all alone right here. ALICE opens the door and enters. DUCHESS Your place is here, child, in the kitchen with us. Kids and kitchen, that's the rule. Here. SCENE 3. PIG AND PEPPER She throws the baby to the COOK, who trows it back. They ALICE finds herself in a kitchen. A CHESHIRE CAT is licking keep tossing it back and forth. the dishes and a COOK is wiping them dry. The DUCHESS sits in a throne with a baby on her lap. The baby cries, and the COOK throws plates at the Duchess. FROG picks up the plates, COOK Let a little girl in the kitchen, she'll make a mess. Pig! gives them to the DUCHESS, who throws them back at the COOK. The WHITE RABBIT sweeps up the broken plates. DUCHESS A girl starts making a mess, next thing you know They all sneeze continually and loudly. ALICE tries to sneak she has a baby, and voila, she's a mother herself. Here. out unnoticed. ALICE But I don't want to be a mother, all I want is to find a DUCHESS Pig! way out of here. ALICE I beg your pardon? COOK A way out? You just got in. DUCHESS I said pig! Pig! Pig! DUCHESS The more doors you open... ALICE But I'm a little girl. FROG ... the deeper in you get. DUCHESS Pig, little girl, what's the difference? What's your The baby is thrown one last time, and ends up in ALICE's arms. name? It has turned into a piglet. ALICE I seem to have lost it. DUCHESS Take care of it, child. I must go dress, or I'll be late for the Queen's croquet party. DUCHESS No name? Then you're a pig. Little girls have names, pigs don't. Voila! The DUCHESS, COOK, and FROG exit. ALICE is left with the piglet and the CHESHIRE CAT. COOK Your mother must have told you that many a time. KNEE 4. LETTERS I ALICE She never did. DODGSON writes letters to ALICE. He looks at her COOK Then she's a bad mother. photograph. The CHESHIRE CAT comes out of the kitchen, and smears the letters. DODGSON crumples up the ruined letters and throws them at the CHESHIRE CAT. ALICE She's a good mother! DODGSON (Writes) DUCHESS A mother is like the letter M. Neither bad nor good. It all depends on the circumstances. If a mother says "you're mine," that's good. If a strange man says it, that's bad. Dear Alice, last night I dreamed that I was dreaming of you. And from a window across the lawn I watched you undress wearing a sunset of purple tightly woven around your hair that CAT True enough, if you're a little girl. For grown-up girls, rose in strangled ebony curls moving in a yellow bedroom light. it's just the opposite. The air is wet with sound. The faraway yelping of a wounded dog. The ground drinking a slow faucet leak. Your house is so DUCHESS Who asked your opinion? soft and fading as it soaks the black summer heat. A yellow cat runs out on the stream of hall light and into the yard. A wooden cherry scent is faintly breathing the air. I hear our champagne ALICE I don't believe I've ever heard a cat with an opinion laugh. You wear two lavender orchids, one in your hair and one before. on your hip. A string of yellow carnival lights comes on with the dusk, circling the lake with a slowly dipping halo and I DUCHESS Oh, try. With practice you can believe almost heard a banjo tango playing a minor waltz. And you danced into anything. For instance, you could believe you were a little girl... the shadow of a black poplar tree and I watched you as you disappeared. I buried a rabbit's heart stuck with pins in the graveyard in hope it would break this spell of love. But it did COOK ... or that you know better than the rest of us... not. DUCHESS ... when you're all alone in the house. The CAT plays with the crumpled letters. DODGSON leaves. SCENE 4. ALICE ALONE The stairways in nightmares are scary and steep, But the fear is forgot when we wake from our sleep. Late at night. ALICE cannot sleep. We see her as a woman in her late forties, in an elegant gown. She has been drinking, and We must wake all alone, get up stretch, and grow: is talking to her cat. From the nine lives I've lived, that's all that I know But we can't waste the day with our rhythm and rhyme - A girl who must grow must find out about Time! ALICE Move back he said, and back I moved, but it wasn't enough. Then he said move forward and I moved forward but it wasn't enough. And then move left and I moved left and then ALICE Which way should I go from here? right; I moved right and it wasn't enough. No matter how I moved, Kitty it wasn't enough. And then came the stillness. CAT Either way. East you'll find the Hatter; he's mad. West Hold still for a few seconds he said, it won't hurt you, you're a you'll find the March Hare; he's equally mad. little girl, he said, you must learn to hold still, and I held still for ten seconds and it wasn't enough. Then he said hold still for fifteen seconds and I held still for fifteen seconds and it wasn't ALICE Everyone here seems mad. enough. And then hold still for forty-five seconds and I sat for what seemed like hours and hours. I held so still I though I was dead. But I never blinked. You remember that day, kitty, we had CAT Oh, they are, they are. I'm mad myself. Quite mad. gone for a walk in the woods, you discovered a rabbit, a tiny white rabbit, and it sat there and stared at you frozen with fear? ALICE I'm not mad. That's how I sat, Kitty. And he was there, he was there somewhere in a big black cloud, and his round shiny eye kept looking and looking. That's wonderful, don't you think, Kitty? CAT Of course you are. If you weren't mad, you wouldn't be How close he wanted me, and how far away he kept me. I felt here. the tears coming and the screams coming but I never blinked. I looked into the little eye and there was nothing there but me. He disappears and ALICE goes on her way. That's wonderful, don't you think? SCENE 5. THE MAD TEA PARTY Then something inside me unfolded, unlocked, and I lay back and let the look lie down on top of me, oh, the heavy long years of what is to be seen and what is not to be seen, what is to be ALICE sees a long table laid with many places set out under a shown and what is not to be shown, to be seen and unseen and is tree. The MAD HATTER, the MARCH HARE, and the there ever a way out of that? But that was every so sweetly my DORMOUSE are having tea. ALICE tries to sit down. artful Dodgson's dodge, and he stopped my clock, but it was not where anything else stopped. MARCH HARE No room! No room! And I know why, Kitty. He stopped me to keep me from MAD HATTER No room! No room! Go back where you shipwreck and hailstorm, from the stink of dead lilies, the odor came from! of sh... Shhh. But those were my dreams, Kitty. I dreamed of burned bodies and rusting pavilions, of horses that galloped by night so distant that dawn never found them. I was wide with ALICE But there's plenty of room. my dreams, that what he hated. He wanted to keep me away from my dreams. (ALICE pets her cat.) MARCH HARE No there isn't. It just looks like it. KNEE 5. THE CHESHIRE CAT MAD HATTER There's only enough for us. An enormous cat's head appears in a tree in front of ALICE. MARCH HARE Oh, let her sit down. What does it matter, Hatter? CAT It's the night before morning and deep in the house A little girls nestles in bed like a mouse. The landscape is empty MAD HATTER Let her sit down. What do I care, Hare? and scoured by dreams And the only thing heard is the sound of her screams. DORMOUSE What's the meat of the matter? The heat of the hatter? The voice of a grown-up repeats in her ear: The hate of the hitter? Just be a good girl, there is nothing to fear, The hire of the hare? Nothing to frear if you hold yourself still - The lure of the pair? But the fact is, we know there are kisses that kill The cure for the care? It's no use pretending that help will arrive; MARCH HARE Oh, shut up! For help often finds not a soul left alive. It's no use pretending that morning will come, If our eyes remain shut and our tongues remain dumb. They change places continually. ALICE tries to get a cup of tea. The dreams of young children stay fast in their heads MARCH HARE Are you going to the Queen's croquet party? As long as the grown-ups stay out of their beds ALICE I haven't been invited. MAD HATTER But Time will tell. Time tells the longest tale. Always. Time's tale is longer than yours. He never ends. MAD HATTER Just show up. She'll never know the difference. MARCH HARE But whether or not the tale gets told - that's another matter, Hatter. ALICE That didn't get me very far here. DORMOUSE Time out! Time out! Time out! DORMOUSE You mean hare. ALICE You mean we're out of time? MAD HATTER Raus, mouse! MARCH HARE No, time is out. DORMOUSE Natter nitter nitter natter, Killing time with Hare and Hatter. ALICE Of what? This isn't making sense And if it were it wouldn't matter! MAD HATTER Of joint - oh cursed spite! I swear we'll never get this right... HARE, HATTER, and DORMOUSE (Sing.) ALICE I haven't got all night, you know... Hang me in a bottle like a cat Let the crows pick me clean but for my hat They continue to change places. Where the wailing of a baby Meets the footsteps of the dead We're all mad here ALICE I wish I were out! As the Devil sticks his flag into the mud MAD HATTER Of what? Mrs. Carroll has run off with Father Judd Hell is such a lonely place And your big expensive face ALICE Of here. Will never last. DORMOUSE You mean hare. Have I told you all about the Eyeball Kid He was born alone inside a Petri dish MAD HATTER Shut your door, mouse! And he was born without a body or a brow. ALICE How do I find the Queen? And you'll die with the rose still on your lips And in time the heart-shaped bone That was your hips MAD HATTER Go through the forest. And all the worms they will climb The rugged ladder of your spine ALICE How do I find the forest? We're all mad here. MAD HATTER Go through the tree. And my eyeballs roll this terrible terrain We're all inside a decomposing train And your eyes will die like fish ALICE How do I go through the tree? And the shore of your face will turn to bone MAD HATTER Through the door! An exhausted pause. There is indeed a door in the tree. ALICE opens it, steps MARCH HARE We need a tale to while away the time. through and disappears. MAD HATTER A tale! What a whale of a way to tell the MARCH HARE We need a tale that has no time. A timeless time! tale. I know! (To the DORMOUSE.) Tell us the tale of Father William! MARCH HARE Can't tell him anything - he won't listen, you know. DORMOUSE But I don't know Father William. ALICE Who! MAD HATTER You will once you've told us his tale. MARCH HARE Time. DORMOUSE "You are old, Father William, the young man said, "I have answered three questions, and that is enough," And your hair has become very white; Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs! And yet you incessantly stand on your head - Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff? Do you think, at your age, it is right?" Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!" KNEE 6. FATHER WILLIAM SCENE 6. THE WOOD WITHOUT NAMES FATHER WILLIAM and his SON appear, continue the song, ALICE has wandered into a dark wood. The WHITE RABBIT and then act it out. appears among the trees, calling her name. ALICE covers her ears. SON WHITE RABBIT Alice! Alice! Alice! "You are old, Father William," the young man said, "And your hair has become very white; ALICE That can't be me. And yet you incessantly stand on your head - I am not she. Do you think at your age it is right?" How can that be? I should be me! FATHER The WHITE RABBIT vanishes. "In my youth," Father William replied to his son - "I feared it might injure the brain; But where am I? But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none, And am I I? Why, I do it again and again." I cannot tell you why Or who or what is I - No matter how I try. SON Enter a FAWN. "You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before, And you have grown most uncommonly fat; Yet you turned a back somersault in at the door - Who are you? Pray what is the reason of that?" FAWN Who are you? FATHER ALICE I am me. "In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his gray locks, "I kept all my limbs very supple FAWN So am I. I am me. By the use of this ointment - one shilling the box - Allow me to sell you a couple?" ALICE Then we're we. SON FAWN We are? "You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak For anything tougher than suet; ALICE Don't you see? Yet you finished the goose, both the bones and the beak - Here we are, just we two... Pray, how did you manage to do it?" FAWN I am I, you are you... FATHER ALICE But what does it mean? "In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law, And what should we do? And argued each case with my wife; And the muscular strength that it gave to my jaw Has lasted the rest of my life." FAWN How can we talk if we don't know who we are? SON ALICE How can we know who we are if we don't talk? FAWN What exactly do you mean? "You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose That your eye was as steady as ever; Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose - ALICE Well, I seem to be searching for something... What made you so awfully clever?" FAWN Yes, I know what you mean. FATHER ALICE We seem to be searching together... The memories are short but the tales are long Down there on the Reeperbahn. FAWN Together! That's lovely, I think. Don't you? They called her Rosie when she went to school For her bright red cheeks and her strawberry curls ALICE Oh, I do! I most certainly do! When she would sing the river would run Shall we just go on searching forever? She said she'd be a comedian Oh what a pity Oh what a shame FAWN Together forever! That's lovely! When she said come calling, nobody came Now her bright red cheeks are painted on And she's laughing her head off in the ALICE Yes, that's what I meant... Reeperbahn They are so enchanted by their harmony that they begin to sing. Now little Hans was always strange But the song has no words in it. At the end of the song the trees Wearing women's underthings begin to disappear, it begins to grow lighter, the forest turns to a His father beat him but he wouldn't change clearing. ALICE and the FAWN look at one another. He ran off with a man one day Now his lingerie is all the rage ALICE Why, you're a fawn! In the black on every page His father proudly calls his name Down there in the Reeperbahn. FAWN So I am! A fawn! I'm a fawn! That's what we were searching for! And you are a - Oh my God! You're a girl! You're a little girl! Oh my God! Monster! Monster! Get away Now if you've lost your inheritance from me! Leave me alone! Get away! Away! Away! And all you've left is common sense And you're not too picky about the crowd you keep Or the mattress where you sleep The FAWN runs off. Behind every window, behind every door The apple is gone but there's always the core ALICE I'm not a monster! And I am a little girl. That makes The seeds will sprout up right through the floor sense to me - and the fawn said I was, so that makes two of us. Down there in the Reeperbahn Yes, that must be right. I'm a little girl! Down there in the Reeperbahn The DUCHESS and the MAD HATTER enter, in a mad hurry SCENE 7. THE TRIAL on their way to the Queen's croquet party. A large croquet ground. The BLACK KING and BLACK DUCHESS The Queen! The Queen! QUEEN play croquet with a crowd of CHESSMAN. Soon the I'll lose my head, I'll lose my head! DUCHESS, the MAD HATTER, and ALICE appear. Everyone My knick, my knack, my knock, my neck, looks at ALICE. Oh my! Goodbye! (and on and on ad lib) BLACK QUEEN So. You finally got here. It's taken a while, MAD HATTER We're late! We're late! I must say. But here we are at last. In front of all these people. The Queen won't wait! What a shame. Aren't you ashamed? I would be. Oh jiminy jiminy jiminy! We're late! We're late!(and on and on ad lib) ALICE I haven't done anything wrong! They go off in a hurry. ALICE follows them. BLACK QUEEN I'll be the judge of that. (To the KING.) And so will you, won't you, dear? And so will all the rest of us. We'll KNEE 7. LETTERS II all be the judge of that. The CHESHIRE CAT walks slowly across the grass, dropping ALICE The judge of what? DODGSON's letters as he goes. Several CHESSMAN, the Queen's gardeners, enter. They find the letters and pick them up. BLACK QUEEN You know very well what. Otherwise you Other CHESSMAN set up wickets for a croquet game. As the wouldn't have run away. CHESSMAN assemble, the BLACK KING appears. ALICE I was just trying to find a way out... BLACK KING (Sings.) BLACK QUEEN And you've just gotten yourself deeper and Round the curve of a parrot bar deeper in, haven't you? We have witnesses. And evidence. A broken-down old movie star Hustling an Easterner Bringing out the beast in him A CHESSMAN gives the letters to the QUEEN. A high dive in a swimming pool Filled with needles and with fools BLACK QUEEN We have found a lot of letters And the sender isn't clear, But we know who they were sent to - WHITE KNIGHT Here com I, a perfect gentle knight And she's here. To open doors and fill the house with light; I come with hope, to put an end to night. BLACK KING They must have come from someone, But the letters aren't signed, I am here to defend who needs to be defended And without some sort of evidence For a child in need must be always befriended I can't make up my mind. As a broken toy can expect to be mended. BLACK QUEEN The sender never signed them, (Sings.) So of course our course is clear: Arrest the girl whose name is on them - They bought a round for the sailor And they heard his tale ALICE A name! Of a world that was so far away And a song that we'd never heard A song of a little bird BLACK QUEEN ... since she's here! Off with her head! Who fell in love with a whale. BLACK KING Not ye, my dear, there are a lot of witnesses to He said: You cannot live in the ocean be heard first. And she said to him: You never can live in the sky DUCHESS Aren't we going to play croquet? But the ocean is filled with tears And the sea turns into a mirror And there's a whale in the moon when it's clear BLACK QUEEN First we're going to play courtroom. And a bird on the tide. Question: is she a little girl, or not? ALICE joins in the song. DUCHESS She wouldn't stay in the kitchen... Please don't cry BLACK QUEEN Precisely! Then she's not really a little girl! Let me dry Off with her head! Your eyes So tell me that you will wait for me DUCHESS But I haven't finished my testimony! Hold me in your arms I promise we never will part I'll never sail back to the time MAD HATTER And I haven't finished my tea! But I'll always pretend you're mine Though I know that we both must part BLACK QUEEN You invited the accused to tea? You can live in my heart. MAD HATTER I didn't invite her. She came uninvited. And The WHITE KNIGHT takes ALICE by the hand and leads her she took a lot of time... into the frame. The frame ascends. Blackout. BLACK QUEEN Then she's a thief as well! (To ALICE.) ACT II Well, I think we have enough evidence now. Yes, I think we do. (To ALICE.) Speak, boy! Do you admit your great guilt? KNEE 8. THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS ALICE I don't admit anything! An empty space. The WHITE KNIGHT alone. He dances dreamily. BLACK KING That's important evidence! Off with her head! WHITE KNIGHT (Sings.) BLACK QUEEN Call the executioner! Off with her head! So tell me that you'll wait for me EXECUTIONER (Sings.) Hold me in your arms I promise we never will part I'll never sail back to the time You've murdered the time and you must pay But I'll always pretend you're mine For the things you've done Though I know that we both must part Drown him in tears I say You can live in my heart. And off with his bleeding head Hammer him into the ground As cold as a railroad spike. ALICE approaches from the empty distance. As she does so, a golden frame drops slowly out of the sky. ALICE goes up to it. On the other side of the frame the WHITE KNIGHT gestures, The EXECUTIONER seizes ALICE. A frame descends from and ALICE mirrors movements. The WHITE KNIGHT stamps the clouds, and the WHITE KNIGHT steps from it. his foot and ALICE crashes through the mirror. She ALICE What was that? is in a dark forest. WHITE KNIGHT Jabberwocky is a riddle. Find out what the ALICE Where am I? riddle means, and you find your way out of the woods. And what is my name? ALICE How can I find out what it means? WHITE KNIGHT It doesn't make any sense to say where you are if you don't know what your name is. To know what your WHITE KNIGHT How many doors did you open, coming in? name is doesn't make sense when you can't say where you are. So many questions must you ask, going out. Find the way out ALICE Is there a way to get out of here having gotten in? Within the way in. I come to care. Do not despair. WHITE KNIGHT Any way into the woods can also become a way out. It wouldn't be woods without a way out, and you'll find the way out within the way in. Listen! Sings SCENE 8. JABBERWOCKY I Everything you can think of is true Before the ocean was blue We were lost in a flood Eight VICTORIAN VICARS dance onstage, singing. ALICE Run red with your bloods and the WHITE KNIGHT watch. Nigerian skeleton crew CHORUS OF VICARS 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Everything you can think of is true Did gyre and gimbel in the wabe. The dish ran away with a spoon All mimsy were the borogoves, Did deep in your heart for that little red glow And the mome raths outgrabe. We're decomposing as we go. "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun Everything you can think of is true the frumious Bandersnatch!" And fishes make wishes on you We're fighting our way up a dreamland spine With black flamingos, expensive wine. He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought. So rested he by the Tumtum tree, Everything you can think of is true And stood awhile in thought. The baby's asleep in your shoe Your teeth are buildings with yellow doors Your eyes are fish on a creamy shore. And as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, The WHITE KNIGHT vanishes. ALICE is alone. She sees a And burbled as it came! light shining deep in the forest. One, two! One, two! And through and through SCENE 9. WOOL AND WATER The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head A shop suddenly materializes, and ALICE finds herself inside. He went galumphing back. Its thousands of shelves seem full until you look directly at them and realize they are empty. A large WHITE SHEEP sits knitting "And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? something from her own wool. Come to my arms, my beamish boy! Oh frabjous day! Calooh! Callay!" SHEEP It's dark. He chortled in his joy. ALICE Yes, it's dark. 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimbel in the wabe All mimsy were the borogoves, SHEEP Very dark. And the mome raths outgrabe. This is not a pretty picture. This could be a pretty picture, It has been a pretty picture, The VICTORIAN VICARS dance off. ALICE and the But not now, no. WHITE KNIGHT remain. ALICE No? KNEE 9. THE RIDDLE SHEEP No, not now, never. ALICE, astonished, watches them dance off. Oh, pity the sheep keeper keeping the sheep. And pity the shop keeper keeping the shop. But I am a sheep who is keeping a shop, A cloud lets go of the moon Keeping a shop where nothing is shipped. My ribbons are all out of tune I'm skating on the ice in a glass And in the hands of a man Oh, pity the shopper who shops in a shop That I kissed on a train Where nothing is shipped except sheep. The children have all gone to town Shipper and shopper and shepherd and sheep, To get candy and we are It's almost enough to make you weep. Alone in the house here And your eyes fall down on me. ALICE Is nothing ever shipped to the shop? And I belong only to you SHEEP Nothing. Nichts. Nada. Niente. Nichevo. Oh, there is The water is filling my shoes sometimes, but you have to close your eyes to see it. See? In the wine of my heart there's a stone In a well made of bone I will bring to the pond She points to a shelf, where goods appear and disappear. And I'm here in your pocket Curled up in a dollar ALICE But I can't see anything. And the chain from your watch Around my neck And I'll stay right here till it's time. SHEEP Then you're not using your imagination. In this part of the woods, imagination is a great help. (She screams.) The girls all knit in the shade Before the baby is made ALICE What's the matter? The branches bend down to the ground Here to swing on SHEEP Nothing. It's just that I'm about to prick my finger. And I'm lost in the blond summer grass What exactly are you interested in buying? And the train whistle blows And the carnival goes Till there's only the tickets and crows ALICE I'm trying to find out the meaning of Jabberwocky. But the grass will all grow back And the branches SHEEP We don't sell meanings, dear. We tried it for years. Spell Alice Threw out the old ones, invented all kinds of new ones, but it And I belong to you. was no use. Nobody wanted to buy them. As they sail, a wall appears, with a large egg sitting upon it. ALICE But I've got to find the meaning so I can get out of the ALICE leaps from the boat, and it sails off with the WHITE woods! SHEEP. SHEEP Calm down, dear. I've been lost in the woods for years SCENE 10. HUMPTY DUMPTY now. It isn't so bad, really. (She smiles and holds up a bloody finger.) See? What did I tell you? Have an egg, that'll make you A large egg-like creature, HUMPTY DUMPTY, sits on top of a feel better. wall. ALICE approaches. ALICE An egg? ALICE If you please, Sir - what's on the other side of the wall? SHEEP There's something very comforting about an egg: so perfectly smooth and white and round, a sense of HUMPTY DUMPTY Who wants to know? completeness... ALICE I do. ALICE Yes, an egg. I think I would like an egg! HUMPTY DUMPTY And who are you? SHEEP There's one on that shelf - at least there was a moment ago.... Well, no matter. We'll go find it for you. ALICE I'm a little girl named... named... I'm afraid I don't know my name any more. But I thought perhaps there might be The SHEEP's chair turns into a boat. ALICE and the SHEEP get a door in the wall... in it and sail away. HUMPTY DUMPTY A door!! You cannot have a door in a KNEE 10. BARCAROLLE wall. You'd lose the wallness of it. If you could get through to the other side of a wall, what's the point of having it? ALICE and the WHITE SHEEP sing as their boat drifts slowly along. ALICE What is on the other side, then? ALICE and SHEEP (Sing.) HUMPTY DUMPTY Nothing, when you can't see what's There! And that's only a beginning. Never rely on the letter M. there - or everything, since you can imagine whatever you please. On the other side of a wall, everything is possible, but ALICE Why M? nothing really exists. HUMPTY DUMPTY Why not? ALICE But you can see the other side, can't you? ALICE Oh, you are the person I've been looking for! I'm HUMPTY DUMPTY Of course I can, child. Someone always trying to find out what "Jabberwocky" means. has to see both sides. I am the all-inclusive dialectic between here and there. If you want to know what's on the other side, you have to ask me. HUMPTY DUMPTY Jabberwocky again! They all want to know what Jabberwocky means. It's a wall of words, child, a wall of words. My advice to you is, see if it has any meaning ALICE Wouldn't it be simpler just to tear down the wall? without the words. HUMPTY DUMPTY Don't even think that, child! Tear down ALICE But how can I do that? the wall, what would become of me? HUMPTY DUMPTY By holding still, child. Stand stock-still, ALICE An omelet, perhaps? and watch. HUMPTY DUMPTY What a nasty thing to say! The eight VICTORIAN VICARS appear in front of the wall. ALICE But I didn't mean KNEE 11. JABBERWOCKY II HUMPTY DUMPTY Precisely. You don't mean. You're like The VICARS perform Jabberwocky as a pantomime. ALICE everybody else, you say, but you don't mean. Now I, on the watches, trying to understand what the gestures mean. When other hand, mean - even when I don't say. Take this, for they leave, she looks questioningly at HUMPTY DUMPTY; he instance. falls from the wall and breaks into pieces. A curtain falls. In front of it appear the MAD HATTER and the DUCHESS. They Sings. sing of a previous existence as dissolute clergymen. Over here the ladies All want perfume DUCHESS and MAD HATTER (Sing.) But there's never a rose The roses are frightened to bloom So they never can grow. Now he's a halter boy Bound up in leather and chains What became of old Father Brown And over here they need wool I'll never forget the Sunday he left For weaving baby's new clothes He gave me something special in the rectory But nobody has any wool He's an Altar Boy And the sheep are all lost He corrected me in the rectory In the harbor And that's why I'm feeling so blue Lost in the harbor 'Cause I'm an Altar Boy What about you? Sirens are heard. Pater noster qui es in coelis Sanctificetur nomen tuum Adveniat regnum tuum. And over here They want diamonds to wear But there aren't any here And I can order in Latin And over there Make 'em au gratin, Joe Everyone's hiding their tears. 'Cause I'm an old Altar Boy I never got the rest of the dream Just the ritual And the wall won't come down Now I'm habitual Till they are no longer afraid of themselves Majoring in crimes that are unspeakable If you don't believe me, ask the elves I'm an Altar Boy And I can come down That's what happened to me. To the harbor Down to the harbor. He's just an old Altar Boy Laying out there in the street And then I will He's an Altar Boy Back up the ocean with my tears Hoping he can meet I still have a couple more years A woman dressed like a nun And then I can come back He knows there's got to be some around here To the harbor Drinking across from the church Down to the harbor. Just a little Father Cribari wine And I thought, if only I can make time stop, she will stand there On a Sunday morning time forever. Remembering when he was busier Now he's getting dizzier Afterwards, of course, it grew darker. My head still hurt, only Fill it up, Joe, not so much. And not always. Mostly I was alone in a forest. I You know the routine, yeah, didn't know how I got there, but there seems to have been a I'm an Altar Boy, oh yeah. path. Yes, I'm sure there was a path, you could see the white stones in the moonlight. Was there moonlight? Yes, there must Out there in the bar have been moonlight, I could see the white stones. And Making the scena everything else was stillness, a perfect unending stilllness, and With a novena for that I was glad. Why is he winking At this time in his life KNEE 12. DOUBLETS He never took a wife 'Cause he's an old Altar Boy DODGSON, dressed in the academic robes of an Oxford professor, poses a number of puzzles for ALICE. STUDENTS Drinking Cribari wine help her to work out the answers by holding up cards with large An Altar Boy letters printed on them. Down here in his prime What became of him Well, he's looking up the dress DODGSON Turn HATE to LOVE. Of Sister Marie As you can see He's rather depressed ALICE HATE - HARE - HIRE - WIRE - WORE - LORE - He hasn't been to Mass LOVE. Since nineteen forty-three 'Cause he's an old Altar Boy DODGSON Make a BOY into a MAN. He figured he got enough religion Already in him Now he's leafing through the dirty magazines ALICE BOY - TOY - TOP - MOP - MAP - MAN. He's an Altar Boy What became of him DODGSON Turn TEARS to SMILE. He's an old Altar Boy, yeah. ALICE TEARS - SEARS - STARS - STARE - STALE - SCENE 11. CHARLES DODGSON, ALONE STILE - SMILE. It is late at night. DODGSON is alone in his room and cannot SCENE 12. DUM AND DEE sleep. He stammers slightly on the letter "M". ALICE wanders further into the wood. She discovers two tiny DODGSON My head hurt. You have to understand that, men, TWEEDLEDUM and TWEEDLEDEE, dressed otherwise nothing makes any sense. It was the noise, I think. identically, mirror images of each other. Crash, scream, cry, clatter, clang, constantly clang clang, everywhere that noise. It hurt my head. The clatter of dishes, and children screaming, and the darkness was stifling, the heat TWEEDLEDUM and TWEEDLEDEE (They sing.) made me sweat. And the clocks! Clocks in their clocktowers, beating the hours. There was no way to make it stop. All night, It always rains here... It always rains here... sitting alone, scratching on paper, trying to drown out the noise. But it was always there. ALICE Who are you? And then she came, and the noise stopped. Oh, I know you think this is fanciful, some sort of metaphor. No. No, I can assure you DUM I am Tweedledum. of that. Nothing in my life has ever been as real as the silence she brought me. DEE And I am Tweedledee. Have you ever felt what it's like when a great noise stops? Days ALICE Are you brothers? and months and years of screaming and crying, the crash of crockery, the whining of cats, and then suddenly nothing. Silence came down over everything, and I could hear it, I could DUM No! Contrariwise! hear the silence descending. That's wonderful, don't you think? To be able to hear the silence, rolling across me, across Oxford, DEE Contrariwise! across all England, like a great soft blanket of fog. DUM I am I and he is he... She stood there in the doorway, that's all, and time stopped. And I became myself. That's wonderful, don't you think? I was suddenly myself for the first time. I was everything I'd always DEE What do you take us for, a we? wanted to be, just because that girl stood there in the doorway. ALICE You look identical to me. ALICE If you won't fight, he can't fight. And if he won't fight, you can't fight. DUM We're not! DUM That'll never work. DEE Contrariwise! ALICE Why not? DUM I'm from the West, he's from the East. DEE If we don't fight each other... DEE Contrariwise! I'm East, he's West. DUM No one could tell us apart. ALICE How do you tell the difference? They begin to duel with their umbrellas. DUM There isn't any. DEE Uh-oh! I'm soaking wet! DEE Quite the opposite. DUM Me too! DUM And contrariwise. They open their umbrellas. TWEEDLEDUM and TWEEDLEDEE (They sing.) ALICE But it isn't raining! It always rains here... It always rains here.... DUM It will be. Just wait. ALICE Do you know Jabberwocky? DEE Run for shelter! DEE No, but if he lives in these woods, he knows us. There is a sudden clap of thunder, and the sky grows very dark. DUM Everybody in these woods knows us. DUM See? ALICE And contrariwise. TWEEDLEDUM and TWEEDLEDEE (They sing.) DEE They're all afraid of us. It always rains here... It always rains here... DUM That's because we're fighters! We're backwoodsmen. DUM and DEE both run away and leave ALICE. The thunderstorm begins. DEE Backward as they come. We live to fight! KNEE 13. THE THUNDERSTORM ALICE Who do you fight? A wild thunderstorm blows through the forest, and blows ALICE in its path. DUM Each other! SCENE 13. WHITE KNIGHT AND BLACK KNIGHT DEE And contrariwise! ALICE is tossed about by the wind and rain. There is a sudden ALICE But why? crash of thunder and lightning, and the BLACK KNIGHT appears. He is dressed identically to the WHITE KNIGHT, with DUM Because we're both so alike. his visor down. DEE Whenever he fights, I fight too! BLACK KNIGHT Ahoy! Ahoy! Ahoy! Check! You're m-m- m-m-y... DUM And whenever I fight, he fights too! Suddenly there is another crash of thunder and lightning, and the WHITE KNIGHT appears, with his visor down and his face ALICE Why not contrariwise? hidden. DUM What? WHITE KNIGHT Ahoy! Ahoy! Ahoy! Check! DEE What? BLACK KNIGHT She's m-m-m-my prisoner, you know. They are impossible to separate Chained together for life. WHITE KNIGHT Well, we must fight for her then. Finally the bell tolled his doom He took a suite of rooms They fight. The BLACK KNIGHT knocks the WHITE And hung himself and her KNIGHT to the ground. The WHITE KNIGHT lies From the balcony irons unconscious, his helmet off. The thunderstorm begins to recede. Some still believe he was freed from her But I knew her too well ALICE Oh, you've killed him! I say she drove him to suicide And took Poor Edward to hell. BLACK KNIGHT Nonsense, I've only knocked him silly. He's unconscious. The WHITE KNIGHT stands, and slowly turns around. On the back of his head there is indeed a woman's face. He exits. ALICE Oh, the poor old man! Please, please, dear sir, wake up, wake up! (She tries to revive him.) SCENE 14. THE TRIAL II BLACK KNIGHT Be careful! He's dreaming now. And what The croquet ground, as in scene seven. The BLACK QUEEN, do you suppose he's dreaming about? BLACK KING, CHESSMAN, DUCHESS, MAD HATTER are all where we saw them last. ALICE Nobody can guess that. ENSEMBLE (Sings.) BLACK KNIGHT He's dreaming about you. And if he woke up and stopped dreaming, where do you think you'd be? You've murdered the time and you must pay For the things you've done Drown him in tears I say ALICE Where I am now, of course. And off with his bleeding head Hammer him into the ground BLACK KNIGHT You'd be nowhere! You're only a sort of As cold as a railroad spike thing in his dream! You'd go out like a candle. Bang! Just like that! Take the eyes from his head And boil him until he's dead ALICE If I'm only a thing in his dream, what about you? Choke the life from - As cold as the hands of time You're now in the hands of time BLACK KNIGHT Ditto! Ditto! But I am a power here in these woods, and only the answer to the riddle of Jabberwocky can defeat m-m-me, and you have found nothing. You are Enter the BLACK KNIGHT and ALICE as his prisoner. m-m-my prisoner. You m-m-must come to the Queen, who will cut off your head. BLACK QUEEN So. Here we are again. And we thought we could get away with something, didn't we? Going off like that, The BLACK KNIGHT leads ALICE away. The dark sky begins with a man old enough to be your father! Guilty, I'd say. to brighten. Definitely guilty. KNEE 14. FISH AND BIRD ALICE But what is my guilt? The thunderstorm has passed. The WHITE KNIGHT lies alone BLACK QUEEN Look at these letters! All of them scrawled on the ground. He comes to, sits up, and sings. with your name! WHITE KNIGHT (Sings.) ALICE But I didn't write them, and I don't know who did! Did you hear the news about Edward? BLACK QUEEN No matter. Off with her head! On the back of his head He had another face Enter the WHITE KNIGHT. Was it a woman's face Or a young girl? WHITE KNIGHT The little girl is innocent. The guilty one is here. They said to remove it would kill him So poor Edward was doomed The face could laugh and cry BLACK KING And who are you, exactly, if one may ask? It was his Devil twin And at night she spoke to him WHITE KNIGHT I am the White Knight. I am the one who Of things heard only in Hell wrote the letters. General sensation in the court. LEWIS CARROLL Oh, but of course the story isn't over yet. BLACK QUEEN AT last! A criminal! A confessed criminal! ALICE (Gives a little shriek) It isn't? Off with his head! LEWIS CARROLL No, first you must solve the riddle. You ENSEMBLE Off with his head! Off with his head! must tell me what Jabberwocky means. They lead the WHITE KNIGHT to the guillotine. Drum rolls, ALICE whispers in his ear. He smiles. She whispers again. He thunder crash, flash of camera, blackout. The WHITE continues to smile. She whispers again. His face falls. He KNIGHT's head falls, but he now appears as the WHITE leaves. She smiles and starts to leave. We suddenly see her as an RABBIT. General sensation. old woman. BLACK QUEEN And who are you? ALICE WHITE RABBIT I am the White Rabbit. I am the one who I went to a circus when I was a little girl, and I saw two old wrote the letters. ladies who were joined at the hip and I asked them how they got along, and the dark-haired one told me they hadn't spoken a word to each other in thirty years "but we still get together General sensation in the court. over the holidays." And Dodgson told me once when I was a young girl on one of three long summer afternoons that he BLACK QUEEN Another confessed criminal! Better and had vanished into a dream and was still inside it and that I was better! Off with his head! in it too, for I live in his dream. He had fallen on the ice that time and broke his watch and he said he would never get it fixed and that neither of us are real and anything can happen and we They lead the WHITE RABBIT to the guilllotine. Drum rolls, will only wake up when we die. And he gave me a song in that thunder crash, flash of camera, blackout. The WHITE RABBIT dream and I haven't sung this in years and now I get up every loses his head, and is now CHARLES DODGSON. General day and put on the face I face the world with. sensation. Sings: BLACK QUEEN And who are you? You haven't looked at me that way in years DODGSON My name is Charles Dodgson. I am the one who You dreamed me up and left me here wrote the letters. How long was I dreaming for What was it you wanted me for General sensation in the court. You haven't looked at me that way in years. BLACK QUEEN Another criminal! This is better than Your watch has stopped and the pond is clear croquet! Off with his head! Someone turn the lights back off I'll love you till the wheels come off I remember you with leaves in your hair DODGSON Let me assist you. This time, I take my head off But I'm still here. myself. CURTAIN He takes off his beard and wig and steps forward. BLACK QUEEN And who are you? LEWIS CARROLL It is I who have written you all. (He takes the stack of letters from the BLACK QUEEN.) I took a photograph, and made time stand still. Now it continues its march. You wanted a verdict? Here. I tear up what I've written, you all disappear. The case is closed. He burns one letter after another, and one after another the Wonderland characters vanish. LEWIS CARROLL and ALICE are left alone. ALICE Thank you. LEWIS CARROLL What for? ALICE Now that the story is over, I think perhaps I can grow again.