Alice in Blunderland

This madrigal dinner makes the story of Alice in Wonderland twisted–er.  Alice is quite bored with her school lesson but cannot attend the Queen’s banquet until she finishes it.  Ignoring her professor’s riveting lecture, she sees a White Rabbit and pursues him through a magical door where she meets many strange characters: the Mad Hatter (an eccentric Goth), the March Hare (who is insulted when he is mistaken for a mere rabbit), and the Door Mouse (they could not afford a Door Bell).  Because they find Alice tiresome, they send her on a quest to dethrone the Queen of Hearts.  Along the way she meets more curious characters: Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dummer, the Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle, and finally the Queen of Hearts who forces her to play croquet.  Accusations of cheating lead to a trial that rivals the best of Judge Judy and The Jerry Springer Show.  The madrigal play has a happy ending and no actual playing cards are injured in the course of the evening.

Cast size: 5 Male, 3 Female, 6 M/F

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SAMPLE PAGES:

MAD HATTER:  So, what is your name again?

ALICE:  My name is Alice.

MARCH HARE:  Alice?  Why, you’re the second Alice we’ve had for tea.

ALICE:  You’ve met another Alice?

MAD HATTER:  Yes.  Alice Cooper.  Not very attractive.  Too much eye make-up.  Weird hats.  Moods swings.  I’m glad you are not into the Goth look.

DORMOUSE:  (To MAD HATTER.)  That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

MAD HATTER:  Really?  Again?  (Picks up teapot and reprimands it.)   Enough with the insults!  (Back to ALICE.)  Anyway, you are just in time for the toast.

ALICE:  But, I am—

MAD HATTER:  We won’t hear another word.  Have a seat.  (ALL sit down at the HEAD TABLE.)

FANFARE AND WASSAIL

(BRASS FANFARE by JACK & ACE.  PAGES enter and serve wassail (or hot tea instead) to the guests. SINGERS sing a selection as the wassail (or tea) is being distributed.  When guests have been served, action begins again.)

DORMOUSE and MARCH HARE:  (Stand.)  The toast!

MAD HATTER:  (Raises a piece of toast.)  Raise your toast and make a glass!  (Starts to shape his toast into a glass.)

ALICE:  It’s the other way around, I believe.

MAD HATTER:  Good.  Toast makes a crummy glass.  Raise your teacups.  (ALL raise their teacups, except ALICE who has no cup.  HATTER walks toward the audience and dips his fingers into his cup, which has water.  He starts sprinkling the audience.

Sprinkle, sprinkle little guest,
With this tea I make you blessed.
My Darjeeling and Earl Grey, too,
Hide your face and play pekoe-boo.
Sprinkle, sprinkle from my trough;
Now I guess you’re just tea-ed off.

(ALL drink and encourage audience to drink, except ALICE.  HATTER returns to the table.)

MARCH HARE:  Alice, would you like some more tea?

ALICE:  I’ve had nothing yet, so I can’t take more.

MAD HATTER:  You mean you can’t take less.  It’s very easy to take more than nothing.  Now, it’s time to serve the soup.

(The FIRST COURSE is served.  SINGERS sing another selection as the soup is being distributed.  Suggested song is below.  This is from Carroll.  Just set it to music.)

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Beau – ootiful Soo – oop!
Beau – ootiful Soo – oop!
Soo – oop of the e – e – evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

(When guests have had some time to eat, action begins again.)

MARCH HARE:  (Sniffs soup.)  What kind of soup is this, anyway?

DORMOUSE:  Hasenpfeffer.

MAD HATTER:  Gesundheit!  So, what is hasenpfeffer, anyway?

DORMOUSE:  Rabbit.

MARCH HARE:  Rabbit?  Well, at least it’s not hare.

MAD HATTER:  Hare?  No one wants a hare in his soup.  (ALL are quiet while audience eats soup.)  Uh, change of topic.  Alice, how is a raven like a writing desk?

ALICE:  Poe wrote on both.

(Not expecting an answer, MAD HATTER, MARCH HARE, and DORMOUSE are brought up short.)

MARCH HARE:  What are you, then, an English major?

DORMOUSE:  English majors can’t survive in the real world.  It’s no wonder she’s here in Blunderland.

ALICE:  Blunderland?

MAD HATTER:  No matter.  That is not the right answer.

DORMOUSE:  Then how is a raven like a writing desk?

ALICE:  Oh. How about because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes?

(MAD HATTER, MARCH HARE, and DORMOUSE are brought up short again.  There is a long pause as they work out this answer.) 

MAD HATTER:  Right.  (Pause.)  I think you should just shut up now.

ALICE:  (Shocked.)  How rude!

MARCH HARE:  Time to get rid of this Liberal Arts degree yahoo.

ALICE:  Why, I never—

DORMOUSE:  Let’s send her on a quest.

ALICE:  A quest?

MAD HATTER:  Yes, a quest.  It’s the preferred method in Blunderland of getting rid of troublemakers.

ALICE:  But, I’m no troublemaker.

MAD HATTER:  Your quest is to, uhm . . .

MARCH HARE:  Follow the yellow brick road?

DORMOUSE:  Destroy the ring of power?

MARCH HARE:  Raid the lost Ark?

MAD HATTER:  No, those have been done to death.  I know.  You must dethrone the Queen of Hearts.

ALICE:  Queen of Hearts?

DORMOUSE:  Quite the character.

MARCH HARE:  She’s such a card.

MAD HATTER:  The Queen of Hearts is quite mad . . .

DORMOUSE:  (To MAD HATTER.)  Pot.  Kettle.

MAD HATTER:  And she wants to rule all of Blunderland.  You must stop her.

ALICE:  How?

MAD HATTER:  The usual.  Go on a journey.  Gather quirky companions.  Lop off her head with an ax.

ALICE:  I can’t do that!

MARCH HARE:  (To MAD HATTER & DORMOUSE.)  She refuses to cut the cards.

DORMOUSE:  Maybe she can just deck the Queen.

MAD HATTER:  If you don’t stop her, she will destroy Blunderland.   No more rainbows.

MARCH HARE:  Or unicorns.

DORMOUSE:  Or universal health care.  Besides, you were chasing a white rabbit, weren’t you?

ALICE:  Yes.

DORMOUSE:  Well, (Pointing SR.)  He went thataway.

MAD HATTER:  (Examining his bowl.)  Unless he went thisaway.

DORMOUSE:  Run along now.

ALICE:  But—

DORMOUSE:  Go after the White Rabbit.  (ALL wave ALICE on.  She exits SR.)  Fare well on your quest!  (To MARCH HARE.)  March Hare, what time is it?

MARCH HARE:  (Flops out his watch.)  3:00 p.m. precisely.

MAD HATTER:  By the way, where did you get that watch?

MARCH HARE:  El Salvador.  From a gent named Dali.

MAD HATTER:  Llama?

MARCH HARE:  Nope.  He was an alpaca.

DORMOUSE:  Now we are getting silly.