Meryl Streep Like You’ve Never Seen Her Before

Take an acid trip down the rabbit hole with 1981’s Alice at the Palace.

 

In 1981, Meryl Streep starred in a stage production of Alice at the Palace — Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland — that was filmed for posterity (and, likely, to prove that this insanity did once actually happen).

In bringing 7-and-a-half year-old Alice to life, the future 18-time Oscar nominee found her wildest role ever. No, seriously. This thing is batshit crazy from start to finish.

As The King said in Alice in Wonderland, “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” But trust me, this movie is so insane, you may never be able to see Meryl Streep the same way ever again.

3. Even Alice’s trippy journey down the rabbit hole can’t properly prepare you for what’s to come.

 

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

5. Alice lands with a thud in Wonderland and is immediately confronted with her first life- (and mood-) altering choice.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

6. “Drink me!” says the bottle. “Don’t do it!” says the representation of her mother. “Why so much tongue?” wonders the viewer.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

7. Post-cocktail, Alice makes like all drunk people and dances a damn fool.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

8. Then, she drinks more. Because this is clearly going so well, why not keep the crazy train rolling?

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

9. And does it ever, as Alice performs pelvic thrusts and sings an ode to her disappearing feet.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

10. We’re dancing again.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

11. Darkness descends as Alice’s iconic caterpillar makes his debut.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

12. And Alice gets a hat that she loves. Like, a lot.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

13. Suddenly the caterpillar turns into a man-baby (don’t ask) — this is apparently an event worth celebrating with another dance!

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

14. Baby exits stage left and The Cheshire Cat enters, inviting Alice to sing in extreme close-up.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

15. And guess what? They too dance like lunatics!

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

16. Alice encounters two tables next: One hosting The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and the other supporting The Red Queen (played by Debbie freakin’ Allen).

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

17. Hey guys, remember that chapter in Lewis Carroll’s book where Alice plays air guitar on a flamingo? Me either, but all bets are off in conceptual theater!

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

18. The lighthearted fun is short-lived as Alice is spun (quite literally) into her next adventure: squaring off with The Jabberwocky!

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

19. That means fighting! But, like, “dance-fighting” because, of course.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

20. Eventually Alice bests her foe and celebrates the victory by, you guessed it, D-A-N-C-I-N-G!

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

21. Arch-enemy defeated, Alice is crowned the dancing queen of Wonderland.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

22. But — twist! — it was all a dream. Or was it? No, seriously, I’m asking because I have no idea what the hell just happened.

New York Shakespeare Festival

 

23. Alice at the Palace is available on Netflix.

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