A 3-dimensional adventure: "Wonderland" features vertical dance, multimedia

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Karolina Klatka, Samantha-Brooks Smith and Nina Murphy rehearse for “Wonderland: Alice’s Adventures in 3-Dimensional Space. The three sisters become the White Queen, Alice and the Red King as the performance unfolds. Courtesy

A dance production inspired by Alice’s adventures in Wonderland is set to open Tuesday at the University of Wyoming.

The Department of Theatre and Dance’s “Wonderland: Alice’s Adventures in Three-Dimensional Space” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12-16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 17 in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre.

Director and choreographer Margaret Wilson said the multimedia, vertical dance production features contributions from composer and lyricist Sean Warren Stone, lighting and projection designer Jason Banks, dramatist Patrick Konesko and scenic designer Scott Tedmon-Jones, who suggested the idea more than a year ago.

Wilson and UW geology professor Neil Humphrey lead the vertical dance elements.

“It’s been this really rich, collaborative experience,” Wilson said.

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Caleb Daly, the White Rabbit (of Cheyenne) partners with Samantha Brooks-Smith, who plays Alice, as she prepares for the chess game. Courtesy

“Wonderland” takes pieces from writer Lewis Carroll’s novels “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” but those pieces might be unfamiliar to audiences whose only exposure to Alice and her adventures came via Walt Disney or Tim Burton.

“There are recognizable things, but we’re also drawing on some of the lesser-known aspects of the books,” Wilson said.

Alice’s adventure begins as she falls down, up and through a worm hole that takes her to Wonderland, where she encounters a crazy, chaotic world with challenging, sinister and comical inhabitants. Familiar characters include the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen and White Queen, the Che- shire Cat, the White Rabbit and Humpty Dumpty.

Throughout her adventures, Alice discovers more about her own identity and where she fits in the world.

As they watch, audiences will experience characters above them, behind them and along the staircases.

“It’s a very immersive experience for the audience,” Wilson said.

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Caleb Daly, the White Rabbit (of Cheyenne) partners with Samantha Brooks-Smith, who plays Alice, as she prepares for the chess game. Courtesy

In a new collaboration, artists at the Shell 3D Visualization Center in the UW School of Energy Resources developed a virtual reality version of Wonderland that audience members can try out before the production or during intermission.

Wilson said the production is an example of the beauty and power of live theater.

“I’m hoping that people can take advantage of a really unique opportunity to see a fantastic collaboration in real time,” she said.

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