RBHS prepares to go down the rabbit hole

School's version of 'Alice in Wonderland' set in circa 1900 circus

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

If you, or your child, ever wanted to have tea with Alice from "Alice in Wonderland," you'll have your chance on Sunday.

That's one special aspect of this year's fall play at Riverside-Brookfield High School, "Alice in Wonderland," which will be performed this weekend. 

Before the Sunday matinee performance on Nov. 11, those who purchase a special $5 ticket will sit down for tea with Alice and some of the other strange characters in the play, who will all be in character and dressed in costume for the tea. 

The tea, which should especially appeal to children, will begin at 12:30 p.m. and feature the main characters in the whimsical, fantastical play based on the 1865 novel written by Englishman Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

"We're hoping that they are in awe when the characters come in," said Wendy Winkler, a parent who is helping with the play.

Attendees at the tea will have an opportunity to pose for photos with the actors. They will also receive an activity book for autographs and the activity book will also contain Alice related puzzles.

Tickets to the tea can be purchased in advance or at the door.

"Alice in Wonderland" is the tale of a girl who falls through a rabbit hole and suddenly inhabits a kingdom filled with peculiar characters. But this weekend at RBHS, Alice will join a turn-of-the-20th century circus in an original adaption created by director Colleen Stahnke, a paraeducator at RBHS. 

Last year, Stahnke created a 1980s version of "A Midsummers Night's Dream."

"With no shortage of reimaginings, remakes, or adaptations, it was important to find an interpretation that not only excited me, but did the original text justice without sacrificing Carroll's original intention," Stahnke said in an email. "What better setting than the turn-of-the-century circus to weave a story about an outsider meeting a vast array of unforgettable characters that provide memories for a lifetime?" 

The play will also feature music from the era including a nod to the 1920s with a Charleston dance scene.

Four leading roles in the play have been double cast, a way to give more students the opportunity to play major roles and to increase participation in the play which furthers a Board of Education goal of increasing the number of students who participate in an extracurricular activity.

Sophomore Tess Obuchowski and junior Cameron Winkler will share the role of Alice each playing the lead role for two performances. Alex Angeloini and Kate Johnson will split the role of the White Rabbit who leads Alice on her journey. 

Teresa Godinez and KT Hilt will split the role of the Queen of Hearts, and Jonathan Murphy and Ewan Perry will split the role of the King. In all, 48 students are in the production.

"Alice" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 8, Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday Nov. 10. The matinee on Sunday, Nov. 11, is at 2 p.m. 

Tickets, which may be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3745649, or at the door, are $10 ($5 for students and those over 60).

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