Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adaptation Week: Classic Alice

Welcome to day 2 of Adaptation Week!  You can check out Day 1 (BBC's Mansfield Park) here.

Today's featured adaptation is a new web series called Classic Alice [which, turns out, is sadly not a modern adaptation of Alice in Wonderland - still waiting on that one!]  But what it is is pretty cool! The show's synopsis, according to their website: 
It is the story of Alice Rackham, a college student with a huge drive to succeed. When she gets a bad grade on an essay because she isn’t emotionally connecting to material, she decides to take it a step further and live her life according to classic novels. Her friend, Andrew Prichard, uses the opportunity to make a vlog-style documentary about the process, and together they create ‘Classic Alice’.
This "adaptation" is different in a couple of ways. Unlike other adaptations where actors directly assume the characters and attempt to convince you of the life-likeness (or "verisimilitude" ;) of the played out narrative, Alice drops the pretense of meta and just lives it: she is actively emulating characters rather than pretending to be them.  Also, the construct of why they're filming makes this adaptation more believable than many others.  These strengths allow the series to avoid forced plot points, feel more realistic, and (best of all) explore more than one story within the same series.  Their first book was Crime and Punishment - an arc they played out over 7 weeks.  They are currently working on the next book/mini-series, due to air in June or July.  

While it may seem like a weakness to dedicate only a few months to a summarized view of the story, I think this could turn into a show strength in that this team will be able to tackle books that would be much harder to focus a whole series to.  Pemberley Digital, for instance, has chosen stories that adapt rather well across the years.  But Classic Alice has the potential to take less accessible stories (like Crime and Punishment) and explore it's application without forcing certain aspects that wouldn't fit in today's setting (e.g. no down-and-out prostitute, thus far). 

Alice is a fun and engaging character.  [Though, I may be biased because when I showed these videos to my flatmate, she just kept saying "Oh my gosh, she's you!"  I'll let my friends be the judge of that :]  She is played well by the show's creator, writer, and executive producer: Kate Hackett.  The show also has a fun sub-plot in (and many BTS videos dedicated to) her "friendliership" with Andrew.

Classic Alice is currently on hiatus, but you can catch up on both the Crime and Punishment episodes along with a host of additional content here.  You can also follow on FaceBook [source for all of the above pictures] or Twitter.  If you get a chance to check out the show, let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Update: 7/2/14

Classic Alice will return on August 5th with Season 2 / Book 2 - Pygmalion!  Could not be more excited!!

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