Alice: A Devised Theatre Project

Creating the first Scene: Victorian England at Alice Liddel’s Birthday Party

The Homestead High School Theatre Department is creating a World Premiere! That’s right! A never before seen production of Alice in Wonderland. The 38 cast members, 20 crew members and 14 costume girls are all working on a Devised Physical Theatre piece that will tell their own version of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The Caucus Race Scene created by the actors, but mainly our Mouse, Haley Stevens

This week the cast started believing in impossible things: they started creating the play.  Starting with a scene not written in any of the books, the 38 students and 3 “tour-guides” conquered the first scene.  Sophomore Emma Zander who plays the White Rabbit says, “I love seeing the enthusiasm as we create. Starting from scratch is ambitious but has given us the opportunity to bond, create the way we want, and get a final product that is beyond satisfying. It’s refreshing to feel the energy going into this production from actors, stage crew, and costume crew.”

The cast and directors of Alice in Wonderland have started using a term: Tour-guides.  Because everyone is creating together the three directors, Ms. Figg-Franzoi, and seniors Grace Bobber and Sam Faber have been referred to as tour-guides more than directors.

Grace Bobber, one of our “tour-guides” tells us that, “Writing a show from almost-scratch is really challenging, especially when everyone has different ideas and visions. But this is what the cooperation and communication of theater is about, especially Homestead Theater. We are a community who must respect and listen to and trust one another. I can’t wait to see how the show comes together through our hard work and team energy.”

Emma Zander who plays the White Rabbit and Sarah Mai who is Alice gearing up for rehearsal
Emma Zander who plays the White Rabbit and Sarah Mai who is Alice gearing up for rehearsal

The actor who will be creating the role of Alice is Junior, Sarah Mai.  She spoke today about the process, “Rehearsals this week primarily focused around collaborating with the fellow actors and examining the text to decide which parts most benefited our plot and character development. I found that starting a show from scratch is a very empowering activity for actors as it forces you to make important creative decisions and take risks. I found that reading several versions of a scene interpreted by multiple playwrights opens my eyes to taking liberties with texts. I cannot wait to continue exploring devised theatre and await more weeks of the same fun!

The feeling in general is that of excitement.  Stay tuned for more updates with this world premiere.

Alice in Wonderland premieres in the James Barr Auditorium at Homestead High School on Oct 17th at 7:30.

October 17 and 18th @ 7:30

October 19th @ 2:00

Adults $8
Students $7

Homestead High School * 5000 W. Mequon Rd. Mequon WI 53092

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