When Charles Dodgson spun an adventurous tale to a 10-year-old girl on a boating trip in 1865, making it up as he went along, he hardly could have realized the impact it would have on future generations.
Dodgson embellished the story, published it under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll, and "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was born. A century and a half later, Elizabeth Swados turned it into the musical "Alice," with all of Carroll's absurdities intact.
It's this version that is completing its engagement at Costa Mesa's Vanguard University. And, while it originated in 1865, the story pre-envisions 1965 and such experimental musicals as "Godspell" and "Hair," right down to the funny mushrooms.
"Alice" is replete with nonsensical circumstances, some of them ("The Jabberwock" told in pure gibberish. Yet director Vanda Eggington serves up this creative chaos with style and flourish, and choreographer Stephany Parker (also a cast member) has fashioned some elaborate movement calculated to keep playgoers smiling while scratching their heads.