Off with her head!
At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, called out `Silence!’ and read out from his book, `Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.’ Everybody looked at Alice. `I’m not a mile high,’ said Alice. `You are,’ said the King. `Nearly two miles high,’ added the Queen. `Well, I sha’n't go, at any rate,’ said Alice: `besides, that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now.’ `It’s the oldest rule in the book,’ said the King. `Then it ought to be Number One,’ said Alice.
The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. `Consider your verdict,’ he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice …
– Lewis Carroll
One of the most famous nay infamous trials in English legal history is when Alice is brought before the Court to determine who stole the tarts.
With three blasts on the trumpet, the White Rabbit unfurled his scroll and read out the accusation:
The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!
Courtroom Chaos performed by Powerhouse Theatre Company in the Guildhall in Guildford.
A brilliant performance in the Guildhall of Alice in Court, written and directed by Geoff Lawson, adapted from the courtroom scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It was unfortunate that the performance did not follow the Lewis Carroll text, a pity it only lasted 15 minutes, but nevertheless brilliant. The characterisation of the characters was spot on. The setting, in the Guildhall, could not have been better.
Seeing it performed rather than read, I was very much reminded of classic Morecombe and Wise. I did wonder, what influence was there?
We too easily forget that Lewis Carroll was writing for children. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written for one particular child, Alice Liddell. We have dry academic studies, leaned journals, societies for the studies of Lewis Carroll. Did not Lewis Carroll satirise pedagogues in his writing, and was that not part of the appeal to children?
I was therefore pleased to see that although the audience for Alice in Court comprised mainly adults, there was a few young folk present. Strange that all the girls looked like Alice. I would have liked to have heard their opinion. If reading what has been written, they are more than welcome to leave their comments.
Curiouser and Curiouser (10 July to 9 October 2010), a series of events – talks, walks, exhibitions and performances – to celebrate the lifetime and legacy of Lewis Carroll. Part of the Guildford Summer Festival (18 June to 1 August 2010).
Lewis Carroll lived in Guildford with his sisters and travelled to Oxford on the train.
Powerhouse Theatre Company is a small, Guildford-based theatre company, founded by Geoff Lawson. The actors who performed Alice in Court were from Acting Craft, a ten-week week course run three times a year by Geoff Lawson at the Electric Theatre in Guildford.
Life of Lewis Carroll in Guildford
Legacy of Lewis Carroll
Tai Chi in the Jabberwocky Maze