Santiago Down the Rabbit Hole

Christen Lee, Staff Writer

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This past weekend, Santiago’s theater performers put on a play of wonder with their take on Alice in Wonderland. They took the basic story line and added a few interesting comical twists. Despite the performers’ best efforts, many who viewed the play didn’t enjoy it as much as they thought they would. Some found the play to be boring while others said it was good, but not as enjoyable to watch as some of the other performances put on. I, sadly, have to agree.
While watching the play on Friday, I felt such excitement when the White Rabbit, played by Kimberly Sheldon (12), came on stage where Kat Chavez (12) awaited, portraying the Cheshire Cat- fitting considering they’re both K/Cats, ha-ha. Anyways, I was physically bouncing with excitement over the mere sight of the first performers’ entrance, because I, along with many others, love Alice in Wonderland. Alice, played by Melanie Villalobos (11), came out next. The young woman brought some laughs from the crowd as she over-exaggerated her struggle to get over a wall in order to enter Wonderland and continue chasing after the White Rabbit. When she spoke though, I was a little confused. I was confused because she spoke with an “I’m not in Kansas anymore” southern twang. Whether that was intentional or not, it took away from the character that Lewis Carrol created many years ago. Villabos wasn’t the only one that created this disconnection from her character; Kat also changed her character’s accent at times which was rather odd. Despite this, the two played their characters rather well, especially Ms. Chavez who went as far as winking at the end of the play and sauntering off, very similar to the way the Cheshire Cat did in the animated film directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske.

Going back chronologically, after Alice’s entrance, she should have shrunk and grew and shrunk and grew with the help of the “drink me” liquid in a vile and then later an “eat me” sweet, but in the play, Alice just grabbed the key off the table with ease and then, instead of using the door, she just walked around it- as the Cheshire Cat instructed. Which, I guess is a reasonable spin on it, considering shrink/grow rays aren’t exactly invented yet, nor did the cast have magical size controlling abilities- that Shark Attack knows about. However, I would have liked to see them incorporate this scene in a more accurate portrayal into the play, because this scene is truly powerful in a sense that one can truly understand the confusion, distress, and loneliness the girl felt when falling through that rabbit hole. To change the scenes, cards of the queen came out, played by Bella Totpal (12), Hong Phan(12) and Carrie Carlson (12) made faces and danced in a funny manner to get a few giggles out of the crowed as they also pulled stage props off of the stage and reset for the next scene. During this time, it would have been extremely nice to have had a narration going on to explain what just happened and what would happen next in regards to where Alice was traveling, but nothing was given.

As Alice began her journey to go meet the Queen of Hearts and find the door that fits the key, Alice meets several others along her way including, but not limited to, and listed in no particular order: the caterpillar, portrayed by Tyler Waltson,  the Frogfootman, embodied by Rocco Novello (11), Tweedledee and Tweedledum, played by Rocco Novello and Chris Perkins (12), and those from the Mad Hatter’s tea party, played by James Evans, Faith Orta, and Kate Crissinger. Waltson played quite the believable Caterpillar, with his calming tone of voice and the smoke effects, but the clarity of the scene wasn’t all too well done, as some of what was said was lost as it could barely be heard. Those at the tea party; however, confused those in the audience quite a bit with their incoherent speech patterns, yet it’s something that can be forgiven since no one actually knows the Hatter’s recipe for tea. Twleedledee and Tweedledum truly stole the show away with their take on the telling of the tale of “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. The twins were astounding as their characters truly came to life through their portrayal, as it seemed almost natural for the two to be finishing each others’ sentences.

The show goes on with Alice’s visitation to the Dutchess and her entourage made up of her cook and “baby”, played by Christina Duncanson (11), Ashlee Barragan (12), and a stuffed pig, a Mock Turtle and Gryphon, portrayed by Chloe Rodgers (10) and Sage Sullivan(10), and many many others played by Kaycee Kearns-Burns (9), Ruby Blakesleay(11), Izzy Langdon(11), Ashlynn Kruzel (12), Lily Nguyen (9), Jess Hagen(10), and Trevor Barragan(10).  While the Dutchess was played fairly, the Cook seemed to be played a bit too dramatically. The stuffed pig was perfect though ha-ha, but there could have been more pig sound effects. The Turtle and Gryphon had a nice interaction with Alice that made a number of people laugh, which was nice.

The best of the play, aside from the twins’ introduction, had to be the Queen of Heart’s hosted game of croquet. The cards who worked as stage hands earlier came out again and had the crowd in a fit of giggles as they fell to the ground and struggled to get up several times and worked to be the best hoops for the game. Cleaning up after the event was sad, yet funny though. Many felt sympathetic for Totpal, who just couldn’t carry all of the balloons that were used for balls of the stage by herself and so the crowd witnessed her struggle of finally getting them all and then dropping a few and having to pick them back up again. Totpal didn’t let this ruin the show though, as she played the cards dealt with her and made funny faces to go with this improvised act.

In the end, the play wasn’t terrible, although a little boring, but wasn’t fabulous either. It was a good and enjoyable performance, that many are honored to have watched. Sadly, the audience was just expecting a bit more in comparison to Santiago’s Horror Night Live and Little Shop of Horrors showcases. The Santiago High School student-run newspaper, The Shark Attack, would like to congratulate the performers and all of those who made the show possible. We wish Theater the best in future performances.

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “Santiago Down the Rabbit Hole”

  1. Kat on April 21st, 2017 4:22 pm

    Watch out for rabbit holes

    [Reply]

    Christen Lee Reply:

    That is, unless you want to attend the Hatter’s tea party and make some unique and interesting friends along the way 🙂

    [Reply]

  2. Sage Sullivan on April 21st, 2017 4:27 pm

    Hi. I am Sage Sullivan, and I was one of the actors in the play Alice in Wonderland.
    I don’t believe it is a good idea to advertise your opinion when most of your facts are incorrect. You misspelled numerous names, you mixed actors up who played the cards, you based your opinion off of the movie as if the students were supposed to perform the play line by line, you also misspelled character names, and nowhere in the script, that was given to the actors, is the scene with the growth and the shrinking of Alice. I think it’s best for you readers if you check your facts before writing. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Christen Lee Reply:

    Hi, I’m sorry that you feel this way, but as a journalism student, my job is to express my opinion and the opinions of those around me, hence why the article is marked as an opinion piece, although filed under A&E. If you could please elaborate on which “facts are incorrect”, that would be great, because I’m not trying to report any false information. I didn’t mean to misspell any names, I went based off of a roster provided by Mrs. Beyer, but I assure you, the mistakes will be fixed as soon as possible. As for the cards, again, the cast roster is what I went off of, although I know Carrie, Bella, and Hong personally and saw the Friday night showing, so I know they played the part of the cards. I’d also like to make note that I didn’t just make base my opinion off of the movie, but also the book as well. I never expected the class to act the scenes from either out line by line, I just expected more than what was given, as did many others… I know that the growing of shrinking of Alice wasn’t in the script, but what I expressed in my article was that I wished it had been. I do check my facts and I’m sorry if the truth of how people feel about your performance hurts. It really wasn’t a bad performance, that’s not what I said at all, I solely said it could have been better and was a slight disappointment in comparison to some of theater’s other performances.

    [Reply]

  3. Lily nguyen on April 21st, 2017 7:58 pm

    As part of this theatre family, we do not appreciate what you have said in this article. your opinion on the show was not asked, and you have no clue how much hard work and hours we have put in to make this show possible. We also do not appreciate how you have made many errors and mistakes in spelling simple words and last names. We thought the show was amazing, and we followed the lines and what the script told us to do. If you don’t like that, that’s fine. Just keep it to yourself next time, that would be great. Thanks! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Christen Lee Reply:

    Hi, I sincerely apologize if I have offended you and the theater kids in any way, but this is journalism and in journalism, all opinions matter and get to be expressed. By performing, you are asking for the opinion of others, especially when you expect applause at the end of a show. I may not know the full extent of what a theater kid goes through, but that’s why I didn’t report on it. However, I would just like to state I was in MOTAM so I know the pressure of deadlines, performances, and the amount of skill it takes to write a script, memorize the lines, and put on a performance. I am also a color guard member, so we practice well over 10 hours a week, not including the time that goes in on performance/competition day- and that’s year round. It not simply one show we do either, it’s four routines we have to learn for field show season, three for the rallies, and another for our winter guard season, plus however many routines are needed for parade season. I do apologize for the misspelling of last names, Mrs. Beyer’s gave me a printed out copy of the cast roster, and I wrote them based off of that. As for the other words, I was under a strict time sensitive deadline and my editor didn’t have time to look the article over in great detail. I assure you, we will make those corrections. It’s great that you and the cast loved the show and script, but you have to realize, that the audience’s perception of the show matters too. If you’re having fun, but the audience isn’t enjoying it, what/who are you performing for? For yourself, yes, but isn’t there more to a performer’s performance than just themselves and their cast members? I’d like to think so. Because why would I want someone to pay for a performance that they won’t enjoy? Why even make them come at all? And again, I do apologize that you don’t necessarily like what I wrote about, or what I had to say, but that’s just it- this is journalism, and I’m a reporter. Meaning it isn’t just my opinion, but those around us. I wasn’t the only one that thought the show could have been better and so I helped be the voice to other people’s opinions as well. I encourage you to write an article for the school paper to share the depths of what the cast goes to in order to prepare for such a performance. We’d love to have you as a guest writer, get in touch with me if you’re interested!

    [Reply]

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Santiago Down the Rabbit Hole