By Judy Tacyn
A drowsy Alice has been falling through a rabbit hole and into a fantasy world for more than 150 years, delighting audiences every time. On Saturday, May 18, the drama club of Severna Park Elementary School will bring Alice’s adventures to life once again in “Alice in Wonderland Jr.,” an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel.
By now, audiences know Alice will follow the white rabbit down his rabbit hole only to end up in an odd hallway of doors. Director Atticus Boidy said, “While audiences can expect a very ensemble-heavy show with great humor and crazy characters, I have definitely taken some innovating staging choices and also did a lot of gender-neutral casting.”
Fifth-grader Emery Day believes her character, the disheveled and quirky Mad Hatter, will be the audience’s favorite. “I just love to play the Mad Hatter,” Emery said. “He’s funny and sarcastic and so fun to act out.”
Elsa Webster enjoys playing her character, the Queen of Hearts, because she uses her full vocal range and has a lot of fun with the part. The fifth-grader practices her lines at home by reading them with her sister.
Auditions were held in January and practices started in early February. The young thespians have dedicated hours for practice before and after school and even on weekends. Boidy said the cast has four rehearsals a week and is working hard on the music, dances and blocking.
Jane Honeywell, a fifth-grader, plays the lead, Alice. “Alice is fun to play because she’s curious and interesting,” Jane said. She added that she is constantly practicing her lines with her mom and has all of the music stored on her phone so she can listen and practice her songs.
“The kids are doing amazing!” exclaimed Boidy. “This is my second year with SPES, so I have worked with some of the cast members before, but most of them are new faces. I am so proud of all of them, especially the ones who are trying theater out for the first time.”
Violet Thompson is already a seasoned veteran of SPES musicals and Theatre in the Park, and she’s only in fifth grade. Violet plays the Caterpillar.
“I just love the theater,” said Violet enthusiastically. “I love ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and I cannot wait to join the Severna Park Middle School Stage Company next year.”
Violet’s brother, Garrett Thompson, plays the Dodo bird. Garrett is a fourth-grader following in his sister’s acting footsteps yet making his presence known as the cheerful yet absent-minded character. Having a partner to read lines with at home is great, but Garrett said he likes to practice his songs by listening to and singing along with his CDs in his basement.
Emmy Wright is a fifth-grader who plays small Alice, a part she enjoys because of the amount of singing and dancing she gets to do onstage. “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” is just her second musical, but she’s hooked on acting.
“I enjoy watching the kids discover talents they never knew they had,” Boidy said. “I also love learning from them and being challenged to work harder to make sure they have the best show possible.”