Y Drama Team’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ a visual treat

April 3, 2010 9:55:00 PM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


It''s been almost 150 years since the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson -- we would come to know him as Lewis Carroll -- rowed a boat up the Thames River, entertaining three young children in his company by weaving a fantastic tale of a white rabbit, mad hatter and a myriad of peculiar creatures. One of those children was named Alice, and became the namesake of the English author''s famous tale. 


Carroll''s original 1864 "Alice''s Adventures Under Ground" became known as "Alice in Wonderland." It stands today as a leading example of the "literary nonsense" genre. And Tim Burton and Johnny Depp aren''t the only "Alice" act in town. 


On Friday and Saturday, April 16-17, the Frank P. Phillips YMCA Drama Team will present "Alice in Wonderland" at 7 p.m. in the Joe Cook Elementary School auditorium. Tickets are $7 in advance at YMCA branches, or $8 at the door. 


Terri Gillis directs the cast of more than 30 in this adaptation by Charlotte Chorpenning, an Outstanding Playwright Award winner and founder of The Children''s Theatre Association of America.  


"I''ve personally done more research on this particular play than any other to date because of its whimsical theme and topsy-turvy, inside-out, upside-down and totally nonsensical world," said Gillis. 


Costume preparation began on day one in January, with everyone researching their own costume, said Gillis. 


"We mainly relied on the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel in Lewis Carroll''s original book," the director explained. 


Columbus artisan Bill Moss acts as set designer for the very visual production. He also painted the card faces on vinyl, which serve as costuming for the card deck characters Alice encounters. 


Gillis praised, "We have some spectacular sets, scenery and costumes thanks to Bill." 


Alice is played by 10-year-old Amy Partain, a student at Immanuel Center for Christian Education. It''s a big role to take on for a stage debut. 


"This is my first play, but I used to do plays in front of my family; I''ve always wanted to act," the daughter of Rebecca and David Partain said.  


Alice''s quick temper improves throughout the play, courtesy of lessons she learns along the way, said Partain. "It''s been a wonderful time, I''ve made new friends, and I''m really excited."  


The white rabbit is portrayed by Hannah Bateman; the Mad Hatter, by Matthew Chaffin, and the comical Tweedledee and Tweedledum twins are played by Kayne Whittle and Olivia Laws. 


Also in the cast are Ariel Finch, Logan Ferguson, Krista Green, Payton Riley, Anna Moss, Matthew Ferguson, Chelsea Lester, Lindy Abel, Mikaela Green, Paul Bennett, Lauren Trimm, Carley Owen, Avery Smith, Rebecca Stewart, Haley Ann Boyd, Mary Virginia Fields, Kayleigh Brown, Robbie Brown, Katy Beth McCullough, Savannah Boyd, Ana Wood, Jaden Bennett, Maddie Bennett and William Laws. 


With this spring play, the acting ensemble hopes to recreate the magic of Carroll''s alternate world in an entertaining way.  


"We have not stopped laughing at ourselves since we started this play," confessed Gillis. "We''re having more fun than a cast ought to be allowed to have!" 


To purchase tickets or get more information, contact the Frank P. Phillips YMCA at 662-328-7696, or stop by the facility at 602 Second Ave. N., or any branch Y. But, on the way, beware of any rabbit holes you may come across; you wouldn''t want to miss the play.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.