Friday, January 4, 2013

A Good Night for Ghosts: a review of Then She Fell

Alice and Alice
"I wonder, when you look in the mirror, who stares you down at night?"

A Nurse greets you at the door you almost didn't find, past the ruined garden, down the stairs, around the corner. She checks your name off a clipboard and tells you to find your place, labeled, at one of the three tables. Waiting for you is a ring of keys, and another Nurse is at hand with your elixir. This is Then She Fell, Third Rail Project's immersive adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice books, and it is both strange and familiar.

The lobby where we waited was appropriately dark and curious. Our bags left in an open trunk, our coats piled on a single coatrack, and locked boxes scattered throughout the room, begging to be unlocked - one box contains letters from Lewis Carroll to Alice Liddell (the real-life inspiration and intended audience for the Alice books), another photographs of the two, another a tiny parlor of dollhouse furniture, complete with minuscule playing cards scattered on the floor and a toppled chess set. Each table has a folder full of hospital admittance forms, already filled out.

Eventually the Doctor stepped up to a microphone to welcome us and tell us the rules of the space - no talking, no opening closed doors, relock anything you happen to unlock with the keys you've been given. He then spoke on liminality while nurses guided audience through various doors, one or two at a time. So the audience was separated and sent on its various journeys, and so the show began.