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Alice in Wonderlaw Comes to the Myer Horowitz, Feb 3-4

Tyler McDonough (3L)

It’s almost February. Frigid temperatures are complimented by fleeting daylight. The holiday season is long over. New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned. We’re alone in the cold, dark Edmonton winter contemplating the poor decisions we made over Ski Trip and thinking about all the work we put off in January. We fought through the December inferno only to wash up on the shores of Dante’s Mount Purgatory. We still have so far to climb before we reach paradise.

Thankfully, we have Law Show. The flaming flambeau to lead us through the stygian darkness. The light at the end of the tunnel. The oasis in the desert. The last bastion of hope in a swirling abyss of despair. It is all we have. It is our everything.

Law Show is also the Faculty’s annual amateur variety show. Filled with enthusiastic dancing, indulgent humour and harmonic music, it has satisfied the bourgeoisie for decades. Classmates cheer, faculty members groan and non-law friends and family are left confused and disappointed.

Law Show is unique among Canadian law schools. For the last 21 years U of A law students have written, produced, planned and performed variety shows to raise money for important local charities. Previous productions have included Draculaw, The Wizard of Laws and Saturday Night Law. Last year’s production of Ferris Buellaw’s Day Off was a retro filled show that reminded us all to slow down. This year, your fellow law students will perform Alice in Wonderlaw on February 3rd and 4th at the Myer Horowitz Theatre. It’s going to be wonderful.

In 1865 Lewis Carroll pioneered the literary nonsense genre with “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Six years later Carroll grew his absurdist universe with a sequel titled “Through the Looking-Glass.” These novels inspired Walt Disney to produce the 1951 animated classic “Alice in Wonderland”, whose story was a combination of both Alice novels.

Lewis Carroll’s real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was a writer, mathematician, Anglican cleric, photographer and artist. In addition to his literary success, Carroll was a successful inventor, creating an early version of Scrabble and the brain teasing “doublet”, or word ladder. He wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland while living and studying at Christ Church College, University of Oxford. Carroll vehemently denied that Alice was based on any child in particular. However, most scholars agree that the character was likely based off of 10 year old Alice Liddell. Liddell was the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College and lived on campus at the same time as Carroll. Keen readers will note that the acrostic poem at the end of Through the Looking Glass spells out her full name.

Carroll’s work has had a tremendous impact on art, literature and science. Both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass have been in continuous print for over 150 years. Alice’s story has been translated into 170 languages and read all around the world. The Alice novels were the inspiration behind Nobel Prize winning philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell’s “Flying Teapot” analogy. After reading the “Mad Tea Party” in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Russell had an epiphany. He held that the philosophic burden of proof should always be on the claimant, not the doubter. To articulate this, he used the flying teapot analogy: If a claimant asserts, without evidence, that there is a teapot in orbit around the Sun, then the doubter should not have to disprove that assertion. Through Carroll’s absurdist writing, Russell concluded that no argument should ever be accepted solely because it could not be proven wrong.

Law Show’s adaptation of Carroll’s work is sure to inspire even more philosophical theories than the original.  Alice in Wonderlaw will feature Alice navigating through her absurd world. As Alice searches for a way out of the ridiculous legal vortex, she quickly discovers that things are not as they seem. Join Alice as she sits through a lecture taught by the Mad Hatter, gets advice from the Cheshire Cat, runs from the Queen of Hearts, and hangs out with a hookah smoking caterpillar. As is tradition, Law Show’s production is only loosely based on the source material. Part irreverent commentary on law school life, part gritty cop drama, Alice in Wonderlaw begs you to fall down the rabbit hole and not take things too seriously.

Law Show is a massive undertaking. Alice in Wonderlaw has been in the works since March 2016. The show was written over the summer and rehearsed through the fall and winter. Your fellow classmates have been hard at work learning choreography, practicing music and memorizing their lines. Others have been putting together marketing packages, calling firms, and organizing the silent auction. All in over 200 law students will volunteer in some capacity with Law Show.

It’s important to remember that Law Show is all about charity. 2017 will mark the third and final year of our three-year commitment with Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS). YESS is an important local organization devoted to providing shelter, safety, and hope to at-risk youth. Since starting our partnership we’ve raised over $30,000 for the special charity and are hoping to add another $20,000 with Alice in Wonderlaw. By buying a ticket, you get to laugh with (or at) your friends on stage and make a donation to an extremely deserving cause. What could be better?

Tickets for Law Show are available on ticketfly. They are $20 online up until the date of each show and $25 at the door. Invite friends, family, strangers and enemies. Even if you didn’t sign up as a volunteer, the production is still your show. So let’s pack the house. As Theodore Roosevelt once said “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Call radio stations, write articles in school newspapers, make TV spot appearances. Do whatever it takes to promote your show. Loudly proclaim that Law Show is coming to the Myer Horowitz Theatre February 3rd and 4th. Proudly tell the world that you will be there, and that you will be (hopefully) laughing.