The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

Photo by Sarah Koury.


This show was a wild ride to finally put together. I had the original idea five years ago, after working on a separate show, Alice From Wonderland, as a SATCo performance (Student Alternative Theatre Company at UVic). A director asked myself and another writer to put together a show with multiple endings and music, based on Alice returning to Wonderland as a professional woman.

Not THAT kind of professional woman.

Anyway, after working on that, I saw how much fun the Mad Hatter could be, as a character. As evidently Johnny Depp agrees. That said, for such a long genesis, I can’t say I had much of a script until… three days ago?

Yeah, this show was put together slowly and quickly. Props, costume pieces, and ideas accumulated over the past few months, but the actual words and depth, I hadn’t had time for during the Victoria Fringe crunch of performing William vs The World, directing BFA: The Musical!, and stage managing Sonnets for an Old Century.

So, we came to tonight, to the first ever performance of The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. A show designed to be an experiment with everything I’ve ever wanted to put into a show – audience interaction, a fight sequence, sing-along songs, an improvised song, friendly semi-forcing-the-audience-to-be-involved-in-the-show… silliness abounds! And all with a heart to it. A core.

A core I discovered at about noon today. The show went up at 10:15pm. Yeah, it was tight. Oh, and we finished making the large hat timeline backdrop prop half an hour before the show began. Wow.

Admittedly, the show is highly improvised and includes a lot of audience interaction, so I can’t guarantee all performances will go as swimmingly as tonight’s did. But it was well attended, the audience dove in and got involved without resentment, and I had two strangers make a point of seeking me out on facebook afterwards to say how much they liked it, saying:

I saw “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, this evening and just wanted to say thank-you for the great show, and that you’re an incredible performer.


Wicked show – loved it from start to finish. And I had two cups and they were delicious.

Well, doesn’t that just make me all peachy inside!

If you would like to come, I have five more performances! Free tea and a chance to BE the Jabberwocky!

Fri, Sept 09 – 10:15pm – Portion of ticket sales go to the Food Bank
Sat, Sept 10 – 4:30pm
Sun, Sept 11 – 1:00pm – Half Price Show
Mon, Sept 12 – 6:45pm
Thu, Sept 15 – 8:30pm
Sat, Sept 17 – 8:00pm

At Studio 1398 on Granville Island!

Andrew Wade

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How I came to terms with the Ephemeral Nature of Theatre

Melting ice cream on a bridge
Image via Wikipedia

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”, says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes, New International Version.

In the New International Version of the Bible, the Hebrew word ‘Hebel’ translates as ‘meaningless’, but the Hebrew word – admittedly being poetically employed – literally meant ‘vapour’, ‘breath’, or ‘absurd’. Or, to use a more theatrical term, ephemeral.

“Ephemeral! Ephemeral!”, says the Teacher. “Utterly ephemeral! Everything is ephemeral.”

It can be too easy for us theatre artists to develop inferiority complexes. Paintings survive for centuries. Musical scores play on. Films and television shows rise again on DVDs and stream on Netflix. But a theatrical performance happens once, and then is gone.

Charity show
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We theatre artists wrestle with the question of whether or not what we are creating is important; after all, what perseveres? Do we really contribute to society if the creation ends the moment the final curtain falls? If there are no monuments standing at the end of our resumés?

Do we deserve that allotment of charity funding that could go to another non-profit society?

But we are not the only ephemeral creators out there, flitting about in an ocean of solid substance. Everything is ephemeral. The permanence of other mediums is an illusion. We all create works that move the hearts, minds, and spirits of both our audiences and our collaborators, and then our works disappear.

Different mediums have different strengths and weaknesses (which I have even attempted to chart at one time), but permanence? Everything is ephemeral. Just like theatre. Just like life.

Andrew Wade

Melting Down
Image by Yogendra174 via Flickr
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