CRUCIBLE: Alice Imagining – Theater Presidency (1)   

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/11 October) – There is undeniably an “Alice” in every person.

Our child-like imagining is powerful. It is also magical. It can simplify our need to understand serious subjects or complex issues. It can lighten us up and enliven us as well. It also allows us to learn more creatively. It makes our wit and humor alive and keeps the “Alice” in us in perpetual wonder as we meander into our own “Wonderland.”

If I were Alice I wish for caricatures of a juggler and a rider performing their arts.

The Juggler and The Weightlifter

The juggler tossed his balls while riding on a sleek bicycle; the other tossed on a robust motorcycle.

They performed on similar but historically separate iron rods with around six-minute distance to the finish line.

The one on a bicycle rode quite moderately; yet he tossed more balls. He puffed his favorite “tabako” once in a while. He also glanced instantaneously to the audience with his frequent grin and winks.

Alice was excited seeing the juggler’s eyes. She saw them through his eyeglasses – with out glasses.

“How’s that?” Alice thought.

Then, she took her glance to the other rod. It was partly attached and partly detached to the rod used by the juggler.

Broom! Broom! The robust bike appeared.

The big bike rider while tossing a few balls carried a heavy load on his nape. It had a long iron bar that parallels his shoulders while attached with several kilos of weight.

“So, he is a weightlifter too,” Alice quipped. “It’s a barbell.” A rabbit said and swooped away.

“Oh! Mr. Rabbit, you are here, please stay. Explain to me what I am seeing here.” Alice pleaded.

“Dodo, the Caterpillar, the Mouse and the rest of the guys in Wonderland are here. Ask them.” The Rabbit briefly answered. “Oops. I am late now. I have to go.”

The big bike rider appeared quite meek with a shy smile. But he looked grand in his bike. “Wow, I like him,” Alice whispered.

The rider rode very fast with his big bike screeching in the iron rod. He intermittently tossed three and later two balls. The repetition made the audience a little bored.

Suddenly, the rider grabbed something from his side. Alice made a quick guess: “it must be a “tabako.” No, the rider drew a pistol and shot the wind. The scene jolted Alice.

“Du30! Du30! Du30!” the audience roared inside the Theater Presidency.

With such nerve-wracking performance, the rider’s avid followers turned into frenzy. They idolized him more. They have not seen such an exhilarating show before.

Alice realized she was clapping her hands. “I thought he would puff a “tabako.”

As Theater’s curtain was about to roll down, she heard quite unsure: “boom, boom.”

She thought it was another shooting. “It’s broom, broom,” a cat reminded her. “Oh! Dinah, I am glad you are here. Where have you been?”

As Dinah was about to meow, Alice saw the juggler smiling at her. Then he pierced his forefinger into his eyeglasses and wiggled it.

It was just a frame indeed!

“Why is Mr. Juggler wearing eyeglasses – without glasses?” Alice asked herself.

It is an “eye-frame,” Dodo chuckled.

“Forget it,” Alice answered, “I want to know why the juggler wears an eyeglasses – without glasses.”

“Oh! Alice, my lovely Alice,” the harried Rabbit said while hurrying to go out. “Remember we are inside a theater.”

When Alice was about to stand up, she saw whirling smoke hovered above her.  “It must be a smoke from the juggler’s ‘tabako’,” Alice tried to ascertain herself.

“Ehem. Ehem. Ehem. Excuse me.” It was a caterpillar clearing his throat. “Oh, you are also here Mr. Caterpillar,” Alice happily recognized him.

“The smoke is certainly not from the ‘tabako’,” said the Caterpillar smoking his hookah. Inhaling heavily and talking hoarsely, “he is…” the caterpillar puffed out a big smoke that formed into various letters and magically read: MR. TABAKO.

Before she could clarify more from the caterpillar, Alice saw the big bike rider bow his head before the impassioned audience. The juggler bowed too.

(This is a series exploring the imaginary mix of facts and fiction the understanding of which requires our “creative imagination” of current politics interlaced with some imaginary thoughts from a famous children-story book, “Alice in Wonderland.” MindaViews is opinion section of MindaNews. Julkipli Wadi is Professor of Islamic Studies, University of the Philippines.)