Thursday, February 18, 2010

Alice in Wonderland, Scottish Rite Children's Theatre, February 5 - 28

Macey Mayfield with her china doll good looks and silvery little voice is a lovely match for the imaginary Alice whom Lewis Carroll sent off to Wonderland.

Children's theatre in the style of the Scottish Rite Children's Theatre requires of actors a special willingness and ability. The actors have their audience just two steps away, on mats spread in the wide open space at the center of the theatre.

SRCT scripts pretty much banish the fourth wall, as well, and engage the kids in question and answer. Despite the imaginary "bottom glue" applied pre-show at the chirpy urging of a couple of cast members, the 4 - 8 year-old-crowd is a pretty unpredictable bunch. The little ones might get up and wander around and the older ones might think it's cute to sass back to the actors.

I enjoyed a preview show of Alice in Wonderland, even though the young audience wasn't really numerous enough to spark the participatory dynamic the actors were promoting. Once those bottoms were in place, Macey came forward unobtrusively and knelt primly at the front of the kid's area, starting as a member of the audience. Mrs Crabby-Pants the teacher (Corley Pillsbury) came on with the officious strut and patronizing sweetness of a rotten elementary school teacher, and suddenly we were all back in grade school. After some admonitory dialogue, she told Alice to come up and tell us the story of the dream that she'd had. And we were off to Wonderland.

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