Through the rabbit hole…and into another world!

Quick!  Who can name the most beloved, most enduring classic of literary nonsense?  If you guessed Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you’re in good company.  While other authors from Edward Lear to Douglas Adams have helped to popularize the genre, there is hardly anyone who doesn’t know the tale of Alice and her amazing trip down the rabbit hole.  From the original novel, to the Disney adaptation, to the slightly scary 2010 Tim Burton movie, Alice has had a place in the hearts of children of all ages since her debut in 1865.

The historic Sumter Opera House at 21 N. Main Street proudly hosts the Columbia Children’s Theatre’s version of “Alice in Wonderland” on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.  The CCT website ( provides a wonderful description of the fun:  “Join Lewis Carroll’s unflappable young heroine as she takes a tumble down an enchanted rabbit hole to an off-kilter world of mock turtles, dancing flora, punctual rabbits and mad tea parties, where playing cards hold court and nothing is as it seems. Whimsy and wordplay are the order of the day in this imaginative musical adaptation of a favorite of generations of children, adults, and psychoanalysts.  This version is fun for the whole family.”

So now comes the time for me to throw in a bit of trivia (come on, it’s been a while—you knew it had to be coming!).  Everyone familiar with the iconic Tenniel illustrations in the original book has probably wondered:  what on earth is the meaning of the tag on the Mad Hatter’s top hat, the one that reads “In This Style 10/6”?  (Well, not me—I just wondered what was wrong with his mouth!)  Although it’s no longer an unsolvable mystery thanks to the Internet, for generations the question drove Americans to distraction.  À la Minnie Pearl, it’s a price tag—meaning that the same hat could have been yours, in the old English currency, for ten shillings and sixpence.   I certainly hope the inclusion of this tidbit doesn’t make anyone wonder if I am “mad as a hatter”! 

As shown by the above, Alice has assumed a place in popular culture exceeded by few others.  The story famously inspired the Jefferson Airplane classic “White Rabbit” (or at least that’s what the Airplane claimed at the time).  And for Pink Floyd fans, there is a delightful synch on YouTube of Disney’s Cheshire Cat scene with the song “Lucifer Sam” (not unlike the famous “The Wizard of Oz”/Dark Side of the Moon pairing, only much shorter and more charming). 

If you have been missing Alice and want to get re-acquainted with her, this is a great opportunity to see the story brought to life onstage.  If your children haven’t yet had the delight of meeting Alice and her friends—then what are you waiting for?!

This magical production is brought to Sumter through the joint efforts of the Columbia Children’s Theatre, Sumter Civic Theatre, Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties and the SC Arts Commission.  General admission tickets are $8 for adults and children 3 and over; free for children 2 and under, and can be purchased at the door or purchased in advance at the Swan Lake Visitors Center.  For more information, please call (803) 436-2640 or toll-free,1-800-688-4748.

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