By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

Drama program to reimagine Alice’s Wonderland

A talking rabbit, a deranged tea party, a sassy cat and a petulant queen obsessed with beheadings will all make an appearance April 11-13 on SE Campus.

The SE drama program will bring valuable life lessons with music to its kid-friendly version of the classic story Alice in Wonderland. Written and directed by drama adjunct Steve D. Morris back in the ‘80s, it’s a story that he knows is fairly different from mainstream and well-known portrayals like the recent Tim Burton versions.

“This one is a lot more child-friendly, much brighter, kind of old-school silly fun,” he said. “Like a cartoon.”

The story centers on Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantastical world with talking animals and must find a tardy white rabbit to find her way home.

While it’s a different take on already established and recognizable characters, SE student Shelby Griffin, who plays the Cheshire Cat, said it’s been exciting.

“We’re doing something different,” she said. “I’m kind of excited to be taking on an iconic role like this.”

SE student Sadie Taylor, who portrays Alice, said while she’s familiar with the cartoon, she hasn’t focused on studying other portrayals of the character.

SE students Leo Vibal and Paige Sommer (the King and Queen of Hearts) surprise Sadie Taylor (Alice) during rehearsal of Alice in Wonderland March 30.
SE students Leo Vibal and Paige Sommer (the King and Queen of Hearts) surprise Sadie Taylor (Alice) during rehearsal of Alice in Wonderland March 30.
Photo by Cane Coonrod/The Collegian

“I’ve kind of learned to just focus on what I want to bring to her,” she said. “[Steve] liked what I was doing, so I’m basing my portrayal off of his notes.”

SE student Tomas Moquete portrays the Mock Turtle, a character that has sometimes been adapted to be a cow, he said.

“He’s really funny. He’s sarcastic. He’s out there,” Moquete said. “I feel like he’s an outsider compared to everyone else. He doesn’t really get to be with the Mad Hatter, or the other guys or see the Queen. Everything’s all new to him.”

The Mock Turtle and every other character Alice encounters while moving through Wonderland has a song to go along with them. For Taylor and Morris, their favorite number is the “Lobster Quadrille” featuring the Mock Turtle.

“It’s with Tomas, and he’s a really fun actor,” Taylor said. “It’s also the most dance-heavy number in the production. It’s a lot of fun to do.”

Griffin said her favorite song from the show is “Everyone Can be Beautiful,” a song at the beginning of the production sung by Alice.

“It’s really sweet, and she [Taylor] has a really lovely voice,” she said. “And it’s just a nice introduction into the world that they’re setting up for you.”

Morris said he hopes the audience can take away some of the bigger themes the show emphasizes.

“It’s OK to be unique and different and be who you are,” he said. “It’s OK to stand up for yourself when it’s necessary.”

Moquete said this will be an Alice in Wonderland many haven’t seen before, and he hopes the audience will enjoy that fresh perspective.

“It’s very vibrant, electric, upbeat, different, fun,” he said. “I would say it’s a whole new and different story.”

April 11-13 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. show in C.A. Roberson Theater.
Tickets are free for TCC students, faculty and staff,
$3 for senior citizens and general admission is $6.