Alice Puts Out?

Sol Theatre gets drunk in Wonderland, abuses children

Dear Sol Theatre:

When I was a little boy, I was a great fan of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. I loved how resourceful little Alice could be, bringing all of her upper-crust English politesse to bear in situations that would reduce most brave men to senseless blubbering and bowel evacuation. It made me think how lucky I was to be an English-speaking child of modernity. If little Alice could handle schizophrenic tea junkies and bloodthirsty queens with a hard-on for croquet — well, so could I!

Surely you understand this. The hope Alice gave me, the wonder I felt whenever I visited her world — you've obviously felt these things yourselves, or else you'd never have toiled away at a re-creation of Carroll's story. And to have such faith in Alice's enduring power that you'd use her for Sol Theatre's late-night fundraiser!That's remarkable. Your willingness to appeal to your audience's highest and most noble instincts is inspiring.

The Duchess and the Cook do Alice (Gavaletz, bottom).
Steve Shires
The Duchess and the Cook do Alice (Gavaletz, bottom).

Or so I thought on the way to the theater.

But now, I am concerned. When I first arrived at Sol, I must admit, your take on Wonderland didn't jibe with my expectations of the place. The atmosphere was nice enough, I guess, but everybody seemed just a little... well, drunk. I do not think I am mistaken on this point. Almost immediately after my arrival, a small coterie of Sol's resident actors began making the rounds with big trays of strong drinks. This is a friendly gesture — social drinking is a time-honored and well-loved tradition among the world's arty peoples — but I thought you might have gone too far when one of your playwrights, a young Ms. Erynn Dalton, began explaining to the people sitting around me that they were "far too sober." Initially, I agreed with Ms. Dalton's assessment — yes! Let's get a buzz! Why the hell not? I had no serious reservations until a few minutes later, when she began rubbing her boobs against people's faces.

Now, I have nothing against Ms. Dalton's boobs. In fact, Ms. Dalton has lovely boobs, as has been previously discussed in this very paper. But, Sol Theatre — are these the actions of a sober person? Are you aware that Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Dodgson, an Anglican clergyman? You must be. I'm sure you didn't intend for your patrons' faces to wind up embedded in Ms. Dalton's shapely cleavage. But this is what happened. More than once.

Sol Theatre, do you have a drinking problem?

Was Lewis Carroll fond of lap dances? I do not know. The official biographies do not discuss this. Still, shortly after arriving at Sol Theatre, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of bidding on a lap dance from your artistic director, Mr. Robert Hooker. Bidding!No, it wasn't my idea — my date put me up to it, a young Mr. Corey Friedman, an ornery lad who's waited ages to get an up-close look at Mr. Hooker's buns — but nevertheless, there I was, a member of the Fourth Estate, about to get a crotch-grind from the ostensible subject of my poison-pennings. Is this a conflict of interest?

Thankfully, I never had to consider the implications. I was outbid. And anyway, this was only the preshow fundraiser. Alice was coming, and I was excited.

But then, when the show was about to begin, you said nothing about Alice. We learned that the evening's production was to be called No Wonder We're in Debt: We Don't Do Oklahoma!Sol Theatre, that is a very silly name. Oklahoma is most definitely a show, and one could even theoretically create a play about "The Making of Oklahoma." But to create a play about not doing Oklahoma... well, Sol, that just sounds dull. Happily, this was some kind of mistake, because very quickly we met our Alice, as played by that delightful little cocktail waitress, Jenna Gavaletz. She's a sweet girl, every bit as warm, plucky, and innocent as Lewis Carroll meant her to be. And though she deserves all the kudos she'll get from this role... well, frankly, her warmth, pluck, and innocence are a little troubling, given the peculiarities of your production. Sol, as much as I like you, I've got some serious questions that I think you'd better answer.

Why did the caterpillar keep asking "Who the fuck is Alice?" Hadn't he read the script? And why did his many arms keep groping at Alice's bosoms and nether regions? Are you aware that Alice is a child?

Why didn't you put a stop to it when the Cheshire Cat began 69ing Alice onstage? I've met my share of lonely pussies, and I know how crazy they can get. But cooler heads should have prevailed. Where were the responsible adults? Were they drunk? Are you aware that Alice is a child?

Who invited Dorothy? Nothing against Frank L. Baum, but this is most manifestly not Kansas, and Wonderland is a long way from Over the Rainbow. And what the hell have you doneto her? Dorothy looks like she just went 12 rounds with Ike Turner. It's terrible. How did she get here? Why does she look so strung out? Why is she Latin?Also: I saw one of her nipples. Why did I see one of Dorothy's nipples?

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