Motus O goes down rabbit hole at ACT

This fast-paced production of Alice In Wonderland is dubbed as part dance, part theatre and part triathlon.

Motus O Dance Theatre

Motus O Dance Theatre

Just in time for Family Day and in celebration of their 25th anniversary, Motus O will be taking us down the rabbit hole into the topsy-turvy world of Alice in Wonderland.

Based on the 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, the story will be told through a combination of athletic choreography, mime, spoken text and music.

Dubbed as part dance, part theatre and part triathlon, this fast paced production retells the story of a bored little girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a fantasy land filled with peculiar creatures. Iconic characters like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and Tweedledum and Tweedledee from Carroll’s sequel Through The Looking Glass will all be brought to life.

“It’s very energetic. It’s very fast paced. We do a lot of running, jumping, you know, different types of dance movement. We always tell people they can lose weight just watching the show,” chuckled James Croker, co-artistic director at  Motus O.

Forty local people who possess a simple enjoyment for performing on stage have also been cast in the production.

Croker explains that by including local talent, the community becomes more engaged in the production.

“We’ve had people who have come who are in wheelchairs, we’ve had people who have come who are in their 70s, we’ve had people who are kids under six years old. What we do is we just give them the motivation and we’ll direct them with movement and where they go on stage,” said Croker, adding that it’s a lot of fun for them and for the audience.

“They get to work with professional performers. They get that little window into what a performance is like,” he continued.

Croker, who is playing the roles of the Mad Hatter, Tweedledum and a rabbit, has had passion for live theatre since he came to Canada from Australia 35 years ago.

“What movies and television tend to do is to prefocus you. They put us in positions where we see only one aspect of the story,” said Croker.

“With live theatre like this you could pretty much look anywhere and it’s real people doing real things in real time,” he said, explaining that every performance is different and that there is always a danger that something could go wrong.

Croker promises lots of colour and action for children along with adult-style humour. There will be a fun ballet number involving Tweedledee and Tweedledum, references to Chariots of Fire with music from Queen.

“Our goal is to communicate to the child in every adult and the adult in every child,” he explained.

Motus O Dance Theatre is based out of Souffville, Ont. and started as a collective in 1990 by the company’s artistic directors, James Croker, Cynthia Croker and Jack Langenhuizen.

Every year they entertain people across North America, Europe and the South Seas with their unique and innovative, energetic perfomances.

What’s on

The Motus O production of Alice in Wonderland takes place at 1 p.m. on Feb. 8 at The ACT, 11944 Haney Place, downtown Maple Ridge. Tickets are $25 for adults and seniors and $15 for youth 24 and under.  To purchase tickets, go to www.theactmapleridge.org or call 604-476-2787.