Saturday, March 17, 2018

Wonderland, N.C.

This afternoon, I saw the students of East Carolina University put on a wonderful production of my adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

Today's show was in Jacksonville, N.C., at Parkwood Elementary School. Lots of folks showed up, including my old friend Jeff Hidek, who I used to do theater with in Pensacola, and who now lives in Wilmington.

It was great to see Jeff again, and his daughter seemed to enjoy the show, as did the other kids in attendance. Jacksonville doesn't get a lot of live theater, and this might have been their first play for some of the kids in the audience.

Catie Griffin, who plays Alice, did a wonderful job, and kids seemed to really relate to her. Michael VanHouten plays Lewis Carroll, as well as the Cheshire Cat and the White Knight. When he fell off his horse as the White Knight, there were howls of laughter from the audience.

The rest of the cast, likewise, did an excellent job. Jordan Biggers, who plays Alice's sister Lorina, also grabbed the audience's attention as the Cook and Tweedle Dee. Tyler Whitley, who plays Tweedle Dum (as well as the Dormouse and the King of Hearts), is considerably taller than her, but the staging made use of their height difference to great comic effect.

Emma Myers was delightfully frightening as the Queen of Hearts (also playing the Duchess and the Carpenter), and Connor Gerney was delicious as the Mad Hatter. Conner also operated some of the puppets, and his frog footman was a big hit with the audience. Of course, you can't have the story without the White Rabbit, which Grant Morgan hoppily played, jumping across the stage, later returning both as the March Hare and as the Walrus.

Many thanks to Nick Lease and Michael Eubanks for directing this production, and to the whole crew who helped bring it off today. Tomorrow, the show will be playing at the Turnage Theatre in Washington, N.C. at 2:00. The performance is free and open to the public, so if you're in the area, please come on out to see it!