Student performers from three universities across the continent will be leaping from stage to stage in a digital-age version of Lewis Carroll's classic that achieves the latest breakthroughs in cutting-edge, distance theatre technology.

As part of the first affordable and easily replicable show that merges three universities' stages, casts and audiences into one interactive experience, students will pull spectators through the looking glass and into an innovative “Internet2 wonderland.”

Alice Experiments In Wonderland is a partnership between the University of Central Florida, Bradley University in Central Illinois, and the University of Waterloo in the Toronto area, which will simultaneously stage the event live using Internet2 high-speed connections, 2D and 3D sets, and multiple screens.

The process will "beam" actors onto stages hundreds of miles away. Cameras will even be turned on the audience during the show. Alice Experiments In Wonderland opens Jan. 24 at the three sites and runs through the first weekend in February.

Other highlights include:

  • UCF's experimental research into the merger of Internet2 technology produced new sound engineering methods that kill echo in distance productions.
  • Video and audio images traveling between the school's broadband connections will run as much as 150 megabits of data per second.
  • Alice sports an iPod in Shafer's hip version of the classic. The show's costuming and characters are "Shrek-like," with humor and pop-culture references for all ages.
  • UCF and its partners received international recognition and press last year for their mixed virtual/real-life production of Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine.
  • UCF produced the high-tech show for about $12,000, while professional productions have cost up to $250,000.
  • New approaches to teaching theatre and theatre collaboration among universities resulted from the production. About 300 faculty, students, and staff worked together on the show.