On Monday Decemebr 8th we had the opportunity to see a famous play Alice, Alice and Alice down and through wonderland. Our hardworking international students were rehearsing throughout the whole semester to be able to meet their audience in the Eleven club, which is also the place where there is a Quiz night every Tuesday. I interviewed Katka Baková, the author of the whole idea.
How did you get the idea to start a drama club?
I have always likes theatre; apart from taking part in school plays I have not had a lot of experience in this field though. I founded the first club when I was sixteen, because I found out that nobody was going to perform one of my favourite Christmas stories – Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. I decided that we are going to do it instead – I went through all the classes, I found the actors, I got e-mails and support from the teachers – and that is how our first play, which I directed together with my friend, was created. We continued and made two more plays which we performed at Christmas party at a primary school; it was quite a success. During this time I fell in love with sewing a creating costumes – and theatre was a reason to accumulate them.
Why did you choose this play?
Around 40 people came to our first meeting, and it was not very easy to come up with a play where everybody can take part. So we found several plays which had enough characters, were not too difficult and had available script, put them on Facebook, voted and Alice won.
Were you inspired more by the book or the film?
Čerpala som z oboch kníh Lewisa Carrola, a teda, Alices Adventures in Wonderland a Through the Looking-Glass – nevím, jestli tu větu chápu
I used both Lewis Carroll’s books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
Did you make any special adjustments to the text?
We created the script by taking the electronic text of both books, and deleting everything except the direct speech in quotation marks...then we deleted some scenes that were either too difficult or too long. Well, and during the rehearsals we decided, together with the actors, how much will and won’t be actually said.
How was the cooperation with exchange students?
Well, it was the same as it is usually with the exchange students – it was interesting. On one hand it was great to have so many interesting people and accents around; on the other hand, we all knew that being part of the play is voluntary, however not everybody realized that there was also a certain obligation implied. Luckily, there were enough dedicated actors who came to most of our rehearsals and took their role seriously.
What were the rehearsals like?
There were 7-8 rehearsals and they were always really chaotic, because either the people did not come or they were late. So we had to work with what we had. I usually worked with one group “on stage” and the rest were practising their roles and scenes in groups. It was quite funny; every time we started a new scene I explained to the actors who they are, how their character behaves, why he behaves like that and how he speaks. Then they were on their own, I was just walking around as some general, who from time to time comments on something or correct something. The last two rehearsals were in costumes, so the poor actors had to help me carry everything to the club and back.
Was it easy to find suitable place to rehearse in Brno?
Well, I do not know if it was easy, we were lucky. Originally we were supposed to be in ISC during Language classes, but after PubQuiz in Eleven club we somehow decided to do it there, and to eventually perform it there as well; without that we would probably never make it.
Was there any hidden meaning in the three actresses playing Alice?
There was no hidden meaning, it was rather a practical decision to have three girls, because the character of Alice has a huge amount of text; and when someone has other duties and things to do, he would just not be able to learn the whole thing.
What do you think of the premiere?
My impressions are positive, all the actors came, there were quite a lot of people, and when I occasionally looked from the backstage I saw many smiles and thoughtful looks, it felt like children watching a fairy tale.
Were you tempted to play some character yourself?
No, I prefer to be a director, but I was prepared to fill in for an actor / actress.
What is your favourite character?
It is hard to tell, I have always liked Cheshire Cat, and the Tea Party characters, because that is the right amount of crazy...
Can we look forward to another play next semester?
I do not know, I finish school in February; however I would be very glad if anyone wanted to take over and continue.
Written by: Ellie (Eliška Fojtíková)