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Welcome to wonderland

Alice of Wonderland meets Aleesh of Lyangchagarh in the land of Abol Tabol and HaJaBaRaLa to bring the spirit of fairytales back into our lives amid the rat race.

The students and teachers of St. James’ School, in association with TTIS, present Alice-er Abol Tabol powered by t2 at GD Birla Sabhagar this Friday and Saturday. The bilingual musical in English and Bengali, with a little bit of Hindi thrown in, includes characters from Abol Tabol, Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland to send out a message against education that limits.

“The pursuit of career, grades and marks is taking away from us the fairytale world that was part of our lives. That life is gradually ebbing and through the musical we are sending out a strong message,” said Indrashis Laharry, a teacher at St. James’ and one of the directors of the play.

So when Kathburo tells Alice that a kath (wood) a day keeps the doctor away, meaning students should not have junk food, Alice is quick to reply: “Do not misquote. It’s an apple a day that keeps the doctor away. They deduct marks for misquoting.”

“Sometimes we are too rational and ambitious. A little madness is essential in life,” said Class XII student Rishav Chatterjee.

This is not the first time the school is staging a play. Experimentation with genres has long been its forte. This being the 200th birth anniversary of Edward Lear, the 125th of Sukumar Ray and with the 150th birth anniversary of Upendra Kishore Roychoudhury coming up next year, the school decided to attempt a “merry mixture” of two worlds from the genre of literary nonsense. “We were thinking of a performance keeping the three stalwarts in mind and we could not have kept Alice in Wonderland out because it is the crowning glory of craziness,” said principal Terence Ireland, who has also produced the play.

Thus was born a bitter-sweet satire with Alice, “who speaks convent English and Anglicised Bengali”, and Aleesh, “who is rustic, outspoken, speaks in Bengali and nothing holds her back”, played by two Class V girls from Pratt Memorial School. The rest of the cast of the musical, which boasts 26 songs and dances, comprises James’ boys and teachers.

Alice-er Abol Tabol will be staged at GD Birla Sabhagar at 6.30pm on Friday and at 10.30am and 6.30pm on Saturday. Passes available at St. James’ School