'Alice in Wonderland' features a huge cast
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Jun. 14, 2011
More than 150 people streamed into the Little Theater on Broad Street on June 10 for the production of “Alice in Wonderland.” Many in the crowd were parents and relatives of the stars - 80 children ranging in age from 5 to 14.
The sheer number of children who turned out for tryouts was a challenge to director Allegra Plantier. “We didn’t want to turn anyone away,” said Plantier. But the children had to commit to three rehearsals a week for six weeks.
In the end, the play included three different Alices and three Cheshire Cats. Besides the main characters such as the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, Rabbit, Caterpillar, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, there were scores of flowers that sang and danced, a batch of crustaceans in seahorse, crab, jellyfish and lobster costumes, and quite a few playing cards (Six of Spades, Joker, Five of Diamonds and the like) who served in the court of the mean Queen of Hearts.
“The children had great energy,” Plantier said. “They worked so hard.” About 40 percent of the kids in the show were new to theater, she said. Some of the older kids took it upon themselves to help the younger kids work out the kinks in their rehearsals.
Plantier wanted all the children to learn new skills, whether they had acted before or not. The line she kept repeating to them was, “You are in the show. You aren’t watching it.”
“We kept repeating that line,” she said. “We must have said it nine million times in rehearsals.”
Plantier brought in Taylor Randolph as a student director. “She’s the most organized, responsible kid,” Plantier said. She had praise for her costumers, too, who were undaunted with the prospect of outfitting 80 children.
Keeping the family atmosphere intact was important for Plantier, who called the entire cast and production crew a family. “It is a community,” she said. “It is a family atmosphere. Moms and dads make the costumes. Moms and dads help us with running the concession stand.”
Eighth-grader Alyssa Harvey watched the play with her friend Gabbi. “The show was awesome,” she said.