Around age 12 or 13, I inherited a gift from my Aunt Nellie; Nellie was my Grandma’s best friend, her college roommate and “partner in crime”. She wasn’t technically family, not biological, but family nonetheless. She was an incredible librarian and she gave the best presents; always books of course, and they seemed to always have an alternative intention, to inspire something you might not realize right away. This, as it turns out, was a big one.
I remember opening the box, looking inside, ‘The Annotated Alice: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass’ by Lewis Carroll. The book was old and smelled like a book shop. Nellie thought it would be, “…of great use to you in the coming years, a girl’s teenage journey is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. I hope Alice and her great adventures will speak to you as it did to me, while you uncover who you are meant to be.” Classic. I wish I could tell Nellie exactly what she did for me, giving me this book, but she knew exactly what she was doing. She GOT me; she knew that I had to understand exactly who Alice was straight from the author’s pen.
There are several editions of the Annotated Alice in print these days, I have come across them all over, but I am a proud owner of one of first printed editions. Enthralled, I dove into this incredible piece of history. My life, brain, and book collection have never been the same. It’s unfortunate to me how Alice has been portrayed, a damsel in distress, glossed over with an airheaded approach, just a vehicle for the story, waltzing around with lazy contemplation. She is so much more!! She is fiercely independent, obsessed with identity, conflicted with justice and punishment, incredibly clever beyond her years and mischievous. Good lord, this girl has depth. Who would throw that away? The world needs more kick ass, clever females. I was obsessed from the beginning. The story and the characters begged to be redefined, adapted to tell a more personal story. Alice needed an update. She needed an anthem.
In my head, it was meant to be told with music; it would be perfect, the story is plunky like a toy piano in the beginning and then, all of a sudden it gets very electric, synthesized. It changes gears rapidly; Electro Cabaret! With no money to purchase rights to anyone else’s songs, we would need original music to back up our original script. Unfortunately, Lacy and I are musically, sans-talent. But you want to know who isn’t? Tony Gavilanes. Tony can write music and SING, like, really, really well. He is a crazy talented musician, performer, and a budding musical theatre actor. Before he was even a part of our company we had recruited him to play Max, the Hatter. I just have to say, we are lucky. SO, SO, SO lucky. Stay tuned my lovelies, the music will rock your socks off; you might have to throw them onstage just to prove my point. In fact, that’s an invitation.
Enter Copious Love, the Tri-Force of Chelsea, Lacy and Tony. We made it our mission statement to write, produce and perform our Original Works, stories that we have wanted to tell since forever, plays that we would want to be involved in ourselves and that showcase not just our talent but our entire community’s talent. When you put us all together, we have a shit ton. ‘Alice’ is one of those stories; it’s going to take a village! So we have been slowly growing our little community into a company, involving just about everyone we know and tapping our resources, finding new talent, new inspiration. And I am so very happy to say that it is coming together, we are finding our groove and gaining momentum. I think back to where we were just a year ago and it astounds me, just thinking about what we wanted to do most in this world and THIS IS IT. We told ourselves we would go big, nothing less.
The best way to describe it is this,
“The church gets passed down, finds its own soundtrack, but the general rules and regulations stay the same: a space where the outsider is the insider, where the unusual is celebrated instead of judged and mocked, where we crush fear and worship at the altar of Get Your Freak On. All the shit of life, the pain, the sorrow, the loves lost, the health issues, the relationship problems, the jobs lost, the friends and families dying before our very eyes, we don’t come to this holy place to FORGET about it. On the contrary, we come to celebrate, to yell at the top of our lungs about it, scream-share it, throw the burden on the ground and dance around it….finding solace there among our brethren. All the pain and all the joy all together in one beautiful mishmash puddle of This Is Life and We’re All In It Fucking Together. And this is why we do what we do.” –AFP
– Chelsea Madsen