Students of St. Charles Borromeo put on Alice in Wonderland play

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2018

Tonight, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School will present a dinner theatre production of Alice in Wonderland.

Drama Club sponsor Deborah Craig said students have been working on the production since October. She said she started with a month of creative dramatics, including improvisation and drama games. Afterwards, the Drama Club held auditions for the play. Once the roles were decided, students met with Craig once every week at 5 p.m. to practice.

Craig said this is the second play the school has put on. The first was the Wizard of Oz, which ran for one night. Craig said the Wizard of Oz was so successful last year, she decided to extend Alice in Wonderland to two nights. Friday night was a coffee and dessert production, while tonight will be a spaghetti dinner theater.

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Craig said she decided to do Alice in Wonderland because she wanted a classic story the audience would love and the students were familiar with. She said the script they are using is a LazyBee production, meaning that the entire 30-minute play is in verse. Craig said there are several benefits to rhyming plays – especially for children. When a play is set in verse, it makes it easier for children to remember their lines. On a subconscious level, verses teach children that the English language is in rhythm, which helps their basic understanding of language, Craig said.

William Carey University teaching student Gina Rancatore will be taking over the school’s Drama Club next year. She said that it is her goal to get junior high students involved in the yearly state drama festival in Oak Grove. She said the competitions include one-act performances similar to the high school level. She said she hopes she can get students involved in the competition at a young age so they have an edge over the competition once they move to high school.

“Mrs. Debbie has been a great role model,” Rancatore said.

The play included children from elementary through junior high school.

Seventh grade student Hayley Palmisano is playing the Queen of Hearts. She said this is her first play and she is excited to be participating. Her favorite part of being in the production is getting into character.

Amelia McCall, who is playing Alice, said this is also her first play. She said that Alice’s personality isn’t very similar to her own, but she still likes the part.

“I’m very comfortable with the part. It’s very easy to play,” McCall said.

Shane Ketchens, who plays the part of the Mad Hatter, said he was involved in the Wizard of Oz play last year, so he wanted to audition this year as well. So far, he said Alice in Wonderland is his favorite production of the two.

“The Mad Hatter really fits my personality. I can act like I usually would,” Ketchens said.

A new part was created for Brianna Barousse, who is playing the Fairy of the Forest. Barousse narrates the play, which she said is her favorite part about her character. She said she really likes that she can talk directly to the audience.

The dinner theatre will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the school’s Parish Hall. Tickets will be $5 a piece.