By David Thompson
In 1865, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, wrote the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, 149 years later, The Little City will tumble down the rabbit hole with the help of Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater ensemble.
In charge of the visual aspects of the “Alice in Wonderland” play will be costume, set, and puppet designer Margie Jervis. A Falls Church native, Jervis has had a 30-year career in art, from sculpture to designing elements for play productions.
“We have truly enjoyed delving into the original text and are sticking to it,” Jervis said. “My contribution is to create visual ways to bring ‘Wonderland’ and all of its characters to life in our small theater space.”
The play will be performed at ArtSpace Falls Church, home to Creative Cauldron, a not-for-profit arts organization that provides opportunities for learning and participating in the performing and visual arts for children and adults.
Jervis joined the Creative Cauldron production team in 2009, in part because of the group’s commitment to creating art for a multigenerational audience.
The production of “Alice in Wonderland” will be utilizing the young talents Creative Cauldron has nurtured in its Learning Theater program. The program invites children to learn the art of play production.
“I love working with our kids! They have fantastic energy and come bouncing in the door, happy and ready to get into the work for the show,” Jervis said. “I think the most fun I have had with them is when I created the costumes and when they had their first fittings, transforming them into their characters.”
Alice in Wonderland is renowned for its many fantastical characters; bringing those characters to the stage puts great emphasis on costuming and the design of the production. Jervis’ inspiration for the costumes came from the original illustrations by John Tenniel, a British illustrator, graphic humorist, and political cartoonist in the second half of the 19th century.
“For me Alice in Wonderland and the original illustrations of John Tenniel are inseparable.” Jervis said. “Like Lewis Carroll, I am using the fashions of the Victorian period, as a springboard for humor and satire in the costume designs. The puppetry elements are completely in support of the action of the story and blend into the overall design.”
Many of Jervis’ productions for Creative Cauldron have included puppets, and “Alice in Wonderland” is no exception.
“A puppet can do things a person cannot! I like to use puppets when we have a visual aspect of the story to tell that is something magical,” Jervis said.
Creative designing and fostering the talents of young artists have both been key elements to Jarvis’ work with Creative Cauldron, and audiences will see both components combined with this spring’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.”
“Alice in Wonderland” runs March 14 – April 6. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. The play will be performed at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple Ave. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. For more information, visit creativecauldron.org.