This scene, is a “mad” excerpt from my play Awaiting Wonderland. Hope you enjoy. If you’re interested in reading more, you can click on the picture at the bottom of the page.
Introduction to scene: Alice has been thrust into a world that she doesn’t understand. She’s been told that the Hatter has the answers she needs. All she must do is find the Hatter at a tea party. Alice excitedly searches with the . . . “help” of two rotund creatures, but nothing could prepare her for this tea party of the mad.
AT RISE: The woods. A table is set up haphazardly. Plates are scattered. The Dormouse is asleep, with his head on the table. The March Hare enters looking frazzled, carrying tea cups.
HARE: AHHHH! Nothing will ever be ready in time. Time. (Turns to Dormouse.) You there, wake up! (Dormouse looks up.)
DORMOUSE: (Sleepily.) No! I shall not wake up. I shall stay asleep.
HARE: You’re awake now. (The Dormouse looks around.)
DORMOUSE: So I am. Is it time for the party?
HARE: The party never ends. Nor does it begin. So I suppose it’s always time. And never time. Now pour the tea while I go get the plates.
DORMOUSE: Oh, I’ll pour the tea all right. Right in these cups I will. (Mad Hatter enters. Dormouse looks up.) Hello, Hatter.
HATTER: Goodbye, yourself. (Hatter sits under the table.) I’ve always found it quite delightful to sit a under a table. You see things you don’t normally see.
DORMOUSE: I don’t like seeing things I don’t normally see. I prefer they stay unseen and I’m quite sure they prefer the same.
HATTER: Where’s the March Hare?
DORMOUSE: Getting the plates.
HATTER: Ah, yes. The plates that never leave the table.
DORMOUSE: Yet he always comes back with them. (March Hare enters without the plates.)
HARE: A tea party isn’t a tea party without plates. (Places the plates that he isn’t holding.)
HATTER: Hello, Hare. (March Hare jumps.)
HARE: The table’s speaking to me again!
HATTER: No, silly. If I were the table speaking to you I would have said . . . something about the plates being . . . well, I don’t know where. (Note: During this exchange, the March Hare grows more and more irritated.)
DORMOUSE: On you.
HATTER: On me what?
HATTER: Don’t follow.
DORMOUSE: Yes. Plates.
HATTER: They’re there?
DORMOUSE: I would say so.
HATTER: Indeed. They’re always there.
DORMOUSE: On you.
HATTER: On me?
DORMOUSE: The table.
HATTER: Ah. The table. Me.
HARE: Could you two stop? She’s going to be here any minute
HATTER: You’re right. Our dear Alice will be arriving shortly. We should prepare. (March Hare and Hatter move to chairs and take a pose. Dormouse does not move. ) Are you prepared, Dormouse?
DORMOUSE: I don’t like having tea parties with others. I like them alone.
HARE: You’re never alone. We’re always here.
DORMOUSE: Which is exactly the way I like it. Now, to sleep I go. (Dormouse puts his head back down and goes to sleep, snoring loudly. Hatter and March Hare remain frozen. Moments later, Alice enters.)
ALICE: Hello? (Crosses over to them.) Hello. Why on Earth won’t you - - (She pokes the March Hare, who screams, jumps, and runs off. Alice pulls back.)
HATTER: Hello, Alice.
ALICE: Are you the Hatter?
HATTER: I am. Do sit. It’s time for tea.
ALICE: Oh. I do love tea parties. (Alice sits down at the table.) Will the . . .
HATTER: March Hare?
ALICE: Ever return?
HATTER: I don’t know. I suppose we should ask him when he returns.
ALICE: But . . . (March Hare returns and sits down and slurps his tea.)
HATTER: March Hare, are you planning on returning?
HARE: Never. Shall we begin our tea party?
HATTER: We shall. (Hatter pours himself a cup and turns to Alice, who is watching him intently.) Would you like some, Alice?
ALICE: Very much so. (She pours and nothing continues to come out. She then hands a cup to Alice.)
HATTER: Drink up.
ALICE: But there’s nothing in my cup. Oh, is this a pretend tea party?
HATTER: I don’t know. Are you pretending?
ALICE: No, but there is clearly no tea.
HARE: No tea! I made it fresh this morning. (Starts muttering under his breath.)
ALICE: I did not mean to offend you. I shall drink it.
HARE: No, it is too late. It is much too cold now. (Dumps the drink out. Starts to pour and looks in the container. ) Now we are out. I shall make more. (Leaves the container and exits in a huff. Alice watches him go and turns back.)
ALICE: This is an odd party.
DORMOUSE: (Waking up.) More like a mad party.
ALICE: Oh dear, I didn’t see you there.
DORMOUSE: You would have if you had been looking at me.
ALICE: I suppose you’re right.
DORMOUSE: I suppose too.
HATTER: I supposed yesterday. Twice. And three times the day before that. (The March Hare enters, empty-handed.)
ALICE: I thought you were making more tea.
HARE: I did.
ALICE: But it’s not . . . (March Hare looks at her meanly.) It is full. Wonderful. (Fakes a drink.) Hmm. Delicious.
HARE: You’re telling untruths.
ALICE: No, I - -
DORMOUSE: You can’t drink what hasn’t been poured yet. (Hatter pours them drinks.)
ALICE: But that was - - -
DORMOUSE: Drink up. (Alice looks at the Hatter, who nods. Alice picks up her cup and drinks. A surprised look comes over her face. She looks in the cup and then up.)
ALICE: Wonderful. I taste it and feel it, yet when I look . . . there’s nothing there.
HATTER: Yet, still it remains. You should a try a biscuit as well. They are quite delightful. (Alice looks to the empty plate and reaches for a biscuit. She takes a bite. A smile comes over her face.)
ALICE: This can’t be real.
HATTER: You will find in time that what is real is only an illusion and no more real than make believe. (Lights fade on the tea party and up on the King, who is watching them.)
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