From left, Brooklyn Young (Cheshire cat) and Mackenzie Hudson (Alice) rehearse a scene from Tree House Youth Theatre’s coming production of Alice in Wonderland. The Cheshire cat was designed by Heather Cornick. Albertus Koett photo

Tree House Youth Theatre to stage Alice in Wonderland

The classic show opens March 14th in the Nickle Studio

The talented young actors with Tree House Youth Theatre are gearing up to present Alice in Wonderland, opening March 14th in the Nickle Studio. Further performances run through to March 24th.

This adaptation, by Jason Pizzarello, is also being directed by the troupe’s artistic director Albertus Koett.

After Alice tumbles down a mysterious rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange land where everyone is raving mad.

With the help of a Cheshire Cat, an astute Caterpillar and a righteous Humpty Dumpty, Alice must find her way home and discover who she really is. Alice in Wonderland was originally published in 1865 by Lewis Carroll.

Pizzarello’s adaptation has been described as, “A darker, more faithful version of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale that re-imagines the experience of Wonderland and ends with an unexpected new twist.”

Koett agreed, noting that elements of the story have lent themselves nicely to some pretty interesting conversations during the rehearsal process.

“Another thing about it that I really appreciated was that with Alice in Wonderland, we can explore those darker themes – it’s something fun and easily recognizable for audiences, but we can also really delve into it and discover who these characters are,” he said, adding that his cast of 11 each play about three roles throughout the production.

“The other part about the script is that it offers up a great opportunity for our actors to work on characterization, and to make all of their characters distinct from each other,” he said.

“I don’t want Tree House to be just about putting up shows – I want Tree House to be about (the actors) learning more about their craft. Hopefully, actors can come away from Tree House with a better understanding of how to create characters, how to approach scripts and how to break down a script,” he said. “So each actor has around three roles – and some have four roles,” he added.

“It’s a lot of fun. It is a challenge, and that’s been part of the joy of it,” he said.

“And the actors have embraced this process.”

As to Alice in Wonderland’s enduring appeal, Koett points to its universal elements.

“It deals with imagination, it deals with perception, it deals with growing up and it deals with the questions that we ask of ourselves.”

For Koett, who came onboard with Tree House last year as AD, the experience has been a creatively enriching one already.

“I’ve really tried to set the bar high as far as my expectations for the level of performance, the level of commitment that we can have, for everyone from someone who is brand new all the way up to those who have been doing this for years,” he explained.

“And they’ve all reached up to that.”

To purchase tickets, visit the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre at www.blackknightinn.ca.

For more about Tree House Youth Theatre, visit www.treehouseyouththeatre.ca.

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