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Richmond Gateway Theatre show reimagines Lewis Caroll’s world of wonderland

Season-end show takes the audience on a tour ‘In Wonderland’
Gateway In Wonderland
Graham Percy (left) and Sarah Roa (right) in the show “In Wonderland”

Entering a theatre each time can be like entering a new, unpredictable world.

This April, Richmond’s Gateway Theatre is transforming its performance space into a world of escape through an imaginative and contemporary retelling show titled “In Wonderland.”

The three-actor show is based on Lewis Caroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and will be shown at the theatre from April 7 to 16.

Burnaby-based actress Sarah Roa, who auditioned for a side character role, landed the main character Alice, something she wasn’t expecting.

“I thought I could play like the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts, but it turned out to be only a third-person show so I was given the role of Alice,” said Roa, adding that the character was “really relatable” to her as a person in real life.

“The show is like a rollercoaster of emotions where this young girl is thrown into a new world and she’s really trying to navigate the craziness of the world like any young person would.”

She explained that her fellow co-stars Natascha Girgis and Graham Percy, both veteran actors in Calgary, will be playing eight to nine characters to “fill up the rest of the world” in the show.

Roa told the Richmond News that auditioning for the role meant she had to travel to Calgary for rehearsals and she resonated with her character very much so in the sense of being separated from her loved ones while exploring a new world on her own.

“I had never worked in a city without my family or my partner close by, so travelling to Calgary made it feel like I was leaving my husband behind for a long time,” she said.

“(Alice) isn’t just a whiny, young girl and she’s not a weak character. She’s brave. She’s me and I embraced it.”

A big part, said Roa, of the show is to remind people to keep their loved ones close.

“Even though sometimes a relationship might be challenging, like a sibling in particular, know that loved ones will always be there for you.”

“In Wonderland” is a variety show that is expected to showcase everything from clown acts to musical numbers, slap-stick and poetry.

Gateway Theatre will have the show at a reduced audience capacity to accommodate physically-distanced seats.

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