Even if you expect the unexpected in Delaware Tech Performing Arts Club's new interactive dinner show, you'll still find yourself in a world of disbelief.
Patrons will literally tag along with the inquisitive Alice to the whimsical Wonderland in "Alice: An Experience in Wonderland," premiering Friday at Delaware Technical Community College's dining hall in Georgetown.
This original production, featuring 20-plus performers, will mark the first dinner theater show at Delaware Tech's Georgetown campus, as well as DTPAC's first-ever full-length production (the show will be two hours).
"An Experience in Wonderland" combines Lewis Carroll's novel "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" with his sequel, "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There," for an even zanier adventure where the entire dining room becomes the stage.
What's more, patrons will be served their meals (spaghetti, salad and dessert) in continuity with the show from folks dressed as playing cards. So when Alice decides to eat the Red Queen's tarts, the audience will simultaneously partake of the tasty nibbles.
"The show is fun because we're acting around the audience," beamed Lara Buckheit, 20, of Gumboro, cast as the treacherous Red Queen. "There will be times when I will take something from someone's table or scream at them for looking at me too long."
Additional crowd interaction will appear in the form of a train ride inspired by "Through the Looking-Glass." In the scene, Alice is playing human chess and must trek across the chess board on a train. During the show, Alice and some others will take the train "all the way around the perimeter of the audience and they'll bring an audience member with them," said director Susan McCoy, of Selbyville.
But DTPAC won't be using a train. "It'll be a like a Flintstone car," she quipped, adding the vehicle will be created from cardboard. But "the outside will be painted like a train."
Not to mention, "An Experience in Wonderland" will feature a crochet game played in the audience, so keep your eye on the ball!
SUBHEAD: White Queen in black hole
While most of "An Experience in Wonderland" is shaped around Carroll's original novel, one of the main elements stitched into the play from "Through the Looking-Glass" is the peculiar White Queen, who McCoy fancies.
"The White Queen does everything in reverse," McCoy said. "In one of her scenes she's talking with Alice and starts to scream. Alice says, 'What's Wrong?' White Queen says, 'Oh, I can see in the future and I've pricked my finger and it hurts. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!' Alice says, 'How are you going to do that?' White Queen says, 'I'm going to do it on a brooch.' Then they do a couple of other things and she puts her shawl around her and pricks her finger. Alice asks, 'Why aren't you yelling out?' And White Queen says, 'Well, I've already done all the yelling.'"
Page 2 of 2 - SUBHEAD: The genesis
"An Experience in Wonderland" has been fathered by necessity as McCoy originally intended to present the comedic musical "Once Upon A Mattress." But when she and fellow DTPAC member Caitlyn Timko (cast as White Queen) discovered they'd have to pay $1,000 a show in royalties, the pair decided to jump ship from the idea.
"We decided to go with 'Alice in Wonderland' because [it's] in public domain," McCoy said.
Instead of spending $2,000 just in royalties to launch a non-dinner version of "Once Upon a Mattress" for two show dates, Buckheit, the treasure for DTPAC, says performing "An Experience in Wonderland" will cost the club approximately the same amount, but that includes the cost for food, costuming, building the set and everything else they need to be ready for show time.
IF YOU GO
WHAT "Alice: An Experience in Wonderland"
WHEN 6 p.m. Friday; 6 p.m. Saturday
WHERE Delaware Technical Community College Georgetown campus, 20145 Office Circle,
COST $5 for children ages 6 and younger; $10 for students, seniors and military; $12 for adults
INFO Visit Delaware Tech Performing Arts Club's Facebook page or call 856-2094