Local students take a trip down the rabbit hole with a production of “Alice in Wonderland (Not the Musical)” at the Fulton Brick District Playhouse.
The cast, made up of students from across the county, will have two shows next Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The production is part of an agreement between the Brick District Playhouse and Columbia’s TRYPS nonprofit children’s theater.
When the Playhouse reopened for performances, the board decided to partner with TRYPS to provide theater opportunities for students in Callaway County.
The students began rehearsing the nine-scene show which follows an abridged version of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.
“I think it’s going really well,” co-director Melanie Brucker said. “I’m actually really amazed at how much these kids have been able to really hold on to things. We have kids who are like, ‘Oh my God, can I do this? Can you make that decision? Can you do that on stage?’ This is exactly what you want.
Brucker said she loves working in children’s theater because at its heart is reckless joy and unbridled chaos.
Theater gives children an opportunity to be loud and take up space, to be silly and wild, she said.
“I think it’s really liberating for these kids,” she said.
As the students learned about the show, Brucker said, they also learned to be a more empathetic person.
“To be really able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and know what it’s like to experience happiness and joy and to share that with other people,” she said. . “I think that’s what theater is, as a whole.”
The best part, she says, is that it’s obvious the students are having fun.
For example, alongside directing, students learned theater games to prepare for the stage. One is called “Instant Death” where you can make eye contact with people through a circle and then dramatically pretend to die.
“They’re playing it now on their breaks and they’re asking to play certain games, all of which are designed to work on communication and attention,” Brucker said.
Along with Brucker and his co-director, Jennifer Cole, two high school students work on the production as co-assistant directors Amiyah Edwards and Kennedy Wisdom.
Both are former students of the program who decided they wanted to come back and help it succeed.
They help the students pass the lines and the rehearsals go smoothly.
“We didn’t really have experience preparing people, not just preparing people, but also setting the line, blocking, stuff like that,” Wisdom said, “so we’re learning to see it from a different angle.”
Tickets for the show are $8 and can be purchased at www.thebrickdistrictplayhouse.com.