Forty teenagers are getting ready to stage a version of Alice in Wonderland for the 1990s at the Hong Kong Youth Arts festival. They have also thrown in a chunk of the mesmerising Sophie's World, this year's 'must-read' book about a girl who gets lessons from a mysterious philosophy teacher. The idea is that not just Alice and Sophie can have thrilling adventures and voyages of self-discovery. The young actors want their whole audience to tag along. 'It is a bilingual physical theatre that is based on the question 'Who am I?' stimulated by the two books. We are going to use these two ideas and make it into a contemporary version. 'There won't be any white rabbits or any boring fluffy characters, but real people in real situations, involved with real issues,' said director Lindsey McAlister. 'It is important for us to know who we are, identify our specialties and maximise our potential. 'Anybody can achieve anything they want to achieve. The only restrictions are the restrictions you give to yourselves,' she said. The play will also use no scenery or props. The actors will become the props. 'People become doors, tables, chairs . . . just click your fingers and they will change from a bedroom to a boat,' said Ms McAlister, who has directed the festival for four years. No one knows exactly how the story line will develop - not even the director. 'We are going to create it altogether. We work on the script and the movement during the workshops. The kids are very much involved in the making of it,' she said. The young performers were chosen from 100 teenagers who auditioned at Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wan Chai. Chan Hiu-fung and Wong Siu-fung, 16, said they were both a bit edgy at the beginning of the audition, but soon discovered the rhythm. 'We didn't know what to expect at the beginning but it turned out to be fun,' said the two boys, who learned modern dance with the City Contemporary Dance Company. The budding actors were asked to perform body movement and acting, and demonstrate their creativity. 'It was quite embarrassing doing some actions, like pretending to be a wizard. 'I just had no idea how a wizard should behave,' said Hiu-fung. 'But it was indeed a wonderful experience,' he added. The 40 performers will start rehearsals - and working on their story - from September. This year's festival, scheduled for November, will feature exhibitions and performances. Some programmes will be run in co-operation with organisations including the Down's Syndrome Association, TeenAIDS, Kadoorie Farm and the Social Welfare Department.