Boston Court: “The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll” take a detailed look at the ways in which desire, fantasy and creation can intersect. What inspired the exploration of the real life figures connected to “Alice in Wonderland,” and to what extent does the play use fact to inspire fantasy?
Lily: “Alice in Wonderland,” like any good fairytale or myth, is the sort of story that grows with you. When I was a kid, the absurd logic and imagery simply made my imagination soar. But when I came back into contact with the story, around age 12, I felt a depth that I hadn’t previously been able to understand. There was a stark sadness to the story, a sense of frustration and longing that was even clearer in “Through the Looking Glass.” But at that age, I didn’t think to wonder why. Only years later, when I learned there really was a little girl named Alice, did the pieces start to come together.
It can be dangerous to comb for autobiography in an author’s work — as a writer I should certainly know better. But whether or not “Missing Pages” comes close to the truth of Lewis Carroll — or rather Charles Dodgson’s — story, I do think creation of any sort comes out of love. And in Dodgson’s own words, the book was “the love-gift of a fairytale.” The play is one possible love story.
While “Missing Pages” is not wedded to facts, the play does hinge on a true story. Before the publication of Dodgson’s diaries, three entries were cut out of one of the notebooks with a razor: June 27th, 28th, and 29th of 1863. There is no way to know what was actually contained in the pages, or even who got rid of them — a niece in care of the books, or Dodgson, himself. But one fact does remain: for the five months following those entries, not Alice, nor any member of the Liddell family is mentioned.