Sunday, February 17, 2008

'Oh dear, Oh dear, I'll be too late!' cried the White Rabbit

Alice lands in Scholastica

Alice, the famous character from the fairy tale 'Alice in Wonderland', came to Dhaka recently. Bringing this well loved children's story to the stage was Scholastica School, Uttara The packed STM Hall, where the play was held, brought together an audience comprising students, diplomats, parents and teachers.

The students of the senior section of Scholastica School presented a musical version of the children's literary classic by Lewis Carroll. The play was directed by Azad Abul Kalam, and was assisted by Kazi Tawfikul Islam Emon and other drama teachers of the school. The most significant feature of this overwhelming play was that the production was designed and executed by the teachers along with the students of the institution.

The Chairperson of the Board of Management of the school, Yasmeen Murshed, thanked the production team consisting of the music team, the singing choir, the choreographers and the stage designers who had worked extremely hard to make the production a huge success. The crew mainly comprised students who had to practice regularly as well as cope with the academic pressure.

The special guest was the US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Harry K Thomas, who had begun with a greeting in Bangla, eventually switching on to English. In his words, 'Education is complete only with the development of the souls and personalities of children. Children feel secure and confident enough to face the many realities of the world through teamwork and extra curricular activities.'

The colourful sets, costumes, the innovative props and the enthusiastic acting of the students of the senior section of Scholastica School, brought all the fabulous creatures of Alice's Wonderland to life. Alice, played by Shazreh Ahmed, displayed an unbelievable amount of strength and creativity, when she somehow popped into a strange land full of extraordinary beings, talking animals, walking-breathing packs of cards and popular characters from the nursery rhymes.

There were some variations in the Scholastica version of Alice in Wonderland. According to this version, it was a hot summer afternoon, when ten-year-old Alice and her sisters were sitting by the river with Mr Dodgson begging him to tell them a story. Once Mr Dodgson began his story, Alice suddenly saw a White Rabbit dressed in a tweed jacket with a watch in his hand scurrying by, shouting, 'Oh dear, Oh dear, I'll be too late!' Alice's adventures thus began once she jumped into the hole after the rabbit.

The spectators immensely enjoyed Alice's encounter with Humpty Dumpty, who was actually sitting on the wall, much to Alice's amazement. 'You'll fall off and break yourself. All the King's horses and men wouldn't be able to put you together you know!' cried Alice to the legendary egg.

Throughout her journey in Wonderland, Alice met many of its crazy inhabitants, for instance The Mad Hatter, according to whom, time had stopped exactly at Tea-Time, 6:00 pm in the evening. He along with the Hare and ever-sleepy Mouse were drinking tea in oversized cups and pouring out more from even larger tea pots. The little mouse,much to everyone's delight, sqeaked out every word. The famous Cheshire Cat was also there to greet Alice with his big grin and clever talk. Right at the end, Alice got a chance to be in a trial, where the Queen of Hearts declared her famous line 'Off with their heads!' to just about every subject in her land. The trial was about the Knave of Hearts who had stolen the tarts made by the Queen one fine afternoon.

The audience was awe-struck not only by the excellent acting skills shown by the young children, but also the d├ęcor of the stage, the clever and colourful props and also the stage set. They were undoubtedly enchanted with the magical happenings on stage, transporting themselves to Wonderland. The professionalism shown by these amateur youngsters was remarkable.

Many parents remarked that schools would do well to give more attention to the role of extra curricular activities as a nece-sssary element of education. As Ambassador Thomas pointed out to each parent in the audience, 'All over the world, we speak one language and that is take care of your children.'

Mon. March 15, 2004
The Queen of Hearts playing croquet

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