SEVEN ALICES IN WONDERLAND?
How many Lake Grove Elementary students does it take to create a production of "Alice (Inside Out) In Wonderland"?
The answer this month was 103.
That's how many students made up the cast of the annual school musical, which was performed on Jan. 20 through a partnership with Northwest Children's Theater.
The play is an original adaptation written by director Mandana Khoshnevisan, who combined Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" with a more recent kids' movie, "Inside Out."
When Alice goes through the looking glass into Wonderland, the glass breaks and Alice splits into six pieces — each representing one of her emotions (Disgust, Pride, Joy, Fear, Sadness and Anger). Unsure how to get back to the real world, the Alices split up in pairs and wander through Wonderland trying to figure out what to do — and trying to find the castle where they think they can get some help.
The Alices meet many classic Lewis Carroll characters, including the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, on their way to the castle. When they arrive, they must face off against the Red Queen in order to get out of Wonderland.
Parent Rachel Devlin, the Lake Grove PTA's drama club chair, is in her third year organizing the play. "We love working with Northwest Children's Theater because they told us they can work with as many students as are interested," Devlin says. "This year, we have 103 students. It's a lot, but they are amazing at managing all of the kids."
Fifth-grader Parker VonAllmen, who plays Alice Anger, says she loves being involved in the school plays because of the relationships they create. Parker has been in the school play every year since she started at Lake Grove, and says she was honored to get a lead role in her last year.
"You get to know people really well," Parker says. "We're all such good friends now."
She and the other six Alices say they have become incredibly close because they are all creating one character together.
"We all play different parts of the same person, so that's really bonded us," says Makena Hammond, who plays the original Alice. "I feel like everyone's sister, and it's only been two weeks."
Alice Fear was portrayed by Lilian McIlraith, who says that at times it was hard to stay true to her character's emotion because she is so happy to be on stage with her friends.
"Sometimes it's really hard, but it's been great for all of us to get to interpret our characters and our emotion in our own way," Lilian says.
Devlin, whose daughter Jordan played Alice Sadness, says the directors worked hard with the students to put on a great production with only six rehearsals.
"It's stunning. The energy that the directors bring is great, and it really inspires the kids" Devlin says. "The amount that they're able to bring out in a matter of six days is incredible."
The directors had a noticeable impact on the students while putting together the play. "The directors did a good job of getting everyone involved and making everyone feel important," Jordan Devlin says. "There really are no small parts in this play."
Yiji Seo, who played Alice Pride, says she didn't know many people before the play. "It's made me really happy, and I've made a lot of friends," Yiji says. "Everyone has been so nice. Plus I'm going to move soon, and this play is definitely a highlight of my time at the school."
Devlin also notes that the production would not be possible without the strong support from volunteers.
"Almost all parents of children in the play volunteer in some capacity," she says.