Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Briar Woods High School Alice in Wonderland

By • Nov 16th, 2010 • Category: Cappies

Dazzling in every aspect of the word, Briar Wood’s original performance of Alice in Wonderland was quirky, vibrant, and impossible. The moment that Alice (Amanda Anzalone) fell through the White Rabbit’s (Devon Ross) hole, the audience hurtled through a cherished and familiar wonderland.

An original interpretation of the book by Lewis Carroll, the director’s version of Alice showcased the eccentric characters of the world that isn’t. Alice’s memorable chase of the White Rabbit leads the audience through numerous cameo appearances of recognizable characters and ultimately to the impulsive Queen of Hearts (Molly Baneck) herself.

Anzalone’s performance was honest and consistent; she remained invested in her character as she reveled in the spectacle that took place around her. Her interaction with the numerous characters she encountered was always sincere, and her interpretation of the cliché character was both familiar and refreshing.

She was supported well by a cast full of exaggerated characters that truly brought life to the stage. Most notable was the performance of the infamous Mad Hatter (Emily Heyer) and March Hare (Rory Cullen), who nearly stole the show with their tea-time insanities. Heyer had a command of the stage that shown through her nonsensical dialogue, and the antics of Cullen left the audience roaring with laughter with his lovable outbursts and flamboyant gestures. The couple balanced each other well˜both were hilarious without falling to the temptation to overdo their performance.

Another notable duo was the synchronized Tweedledee (Brooke Glatz) and Tweedledum (Beverly Diaz), whose well rehearsed timings were eerily accurate, resulting in a stunning blend of motion and energy. Reid Scholz’s portrayal of the Caterpillar also stood out as especially memorable; his caricature vocal impersonation was amusing, as was his wide use of facial expressions.

Perhaps the most impressive facet of the performance was the remarkable technical work of the crew. The complicated backdrop was lit by an equally striking lighting design, creating a vibrancy of color that suited well the extravagance of wonderland. Though at points the scenery forced the audience to imagine a bit more than necessary, the costumes left none of the same ambiguities. Each cast member had an elaborate costume that represented very accurately the wild characters that were portrayed on stage, complementing the performance of the actors. The plethora of moving set pieces in Alice would have been disastrous if not for Briar Wood’s swift and silent running crew, who frequently darted on stage between scenes to shift scenery or other structures. The lack of sound amplification barely detracted from the show, as the majority of the cast projected clear to the back of the auditorium.

Trippy yet innocent, Briar Wood’s Alice in Wonderland was enjoyable from many aspects of performance to a wide range of audience members. As well as anyone, the cast and crew utilized the illusion of theater to bring the audience along for one spectacularly wild ride.

by Gavin Kramar of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Photo Gallery

Carissa Gaither, Molly Baneck, Emily Heyer, Amanda Anzalone, Emily Ready, Rory Cullen Rory Cullen, Amanda Anzalone, Emily Ready, Emily Heyer, Carissa Gaither, Molly Baneck
Carissa Gaither, Molly Baneck, Emily Heyer, Amanda Anzalone, Emily Ready, Rory Cullen
Rory Cullen, Amanda Anzalone, Emily Ready, Emily Heyer, Carissa Gaither, Molly Baneck

Photos by Rodrigo Rivera.

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