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SHS student travel to Wonderland for spring play

The Somerset High School spring drama production is being split into two groups due to the high number of students who tried out for the play. Pictured is Cast A, which will be featured in two of the four scheduled performances from Friday, March 17, through Sunday, March 19. (Submitted photo)1 / 4
Alice, played by Kaylee Erickson, hides behind the Red Chess Queen, played by Salem Rondeau, as the Queen of Hearts, played by Anna Pasno, barks directions to cut off the head of one of her subjects who displeased her. (Photo by Jordan Willi)2 / 4
Pictured are members of the Cast B production of Alice in Wonderland, which will open on March 17, including Jeanette Newberg (as Lory), Nikki Quaderer (as the White Rabbit), Kaylee Erickson (as Alice), Kennedi Kjellberg (as the Do Do) and Alexis Mevisson. (Photo by Jordan Willi)3 / 4
Alice, played by Kaylee Erickson, tries to talk to the White Rabbit, played by Nikki Quaderer, during a dress rehearsal for Cast B on Thursday, March 2, of the Somerset High School’s spring production of Alice in Wonderland. (Photo by Jordan Willi)4 / 4

Somerset High School

Follow that rabbit to a delightful, entertaining world of childhood fantasies when the Somerset High School drama department brings the literary classic Alice in Wonderland to the stage from March 17-19.

"We let the cast help choose the play, we gave them some options and this play was the overwhelming choice," said art and drama instructor Becky Olson. "We also choose a play that has a large cast to allow more students the opportunity to be on stage and develop their skills at acting. We had 45 students audition for the play and we wanted to accommodate them all.

"This play is based on the Lewis Carroll book. We tried not to jump to the movie version that most are familiar with, and is sometimes the less creative but easier route. The play has a wide range of characters and allowed us a lot of flexibility with casting. "

The first show will be at 7 p.m. Friday, March 17, with two shows taking place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 18,. and a final show at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 19. The cast will also serve tea as part of the Alice in Wonderland Tea Party events following the 1 p.m. performances on March 18 and March 19, in the high school library. Make reservations by emailing jgermain@somerset.k12.wi.us, limited number accepted.

"I think things have been going well so far and we are getting better with every practice," said senior Ann DeGeest said. "The thing I like the most about this play are the costumes and the craziness of it all."

With the large number of students coming out for the play, Olson decided to run two different casts for the spring play in order to make sure more students got the chance to shine, with only three actors having parts in both casts.

"We decided to do two casts because we didn't want to exclude so many students for the opportunity to perform. Students are very busy these days," Olson said. "We chose casts for actors first around their availability for practices based on jobs, other school activities, piano lessons, orchestra lessons, dance lessons, family and church obligations, the list could go on and on....It's challenging, but we got it figured out."

The students have had different experiences when it has come to having two casts for this year's play. DeGeest has seen it as both easier and harder than a normal play because she doesn't have to be at practice all week, but it also meant that each cast has less time to rehearse than they would normally. But other cast members have found it more challenging than DeGeest as well.

"It has been very challenging, not only logistically to have two different casts, but mentally as well," said senior Nikki Quaderer. "We only get half of the preparation time and have to share many costumes, but the hardest part is comparing yourself to someone else doing your same part."

Another of the challenges with having two different casts was the fact that, even with so many students coming out for the play, many of them still had other commitments that pulled them away from rehearsals early on.

"It has been challenging to make sure that everyone knows their entrances and lines. The first few practices were really hard since we didn't have everyone, so we are still adjusting," Anna Pasno said. "It's a little nerve racking to have two different casts because sometimes props get misplaced."

One of the things the cast has really liked and enjoyed about doing Alice in Wonderland as their spring play has been the crazy characters they get to play and the cast's wardrobe.

"There are a lots of fun and colorful costumes and sets that people have to look forward to when they come to see the play," junior Sally Bodlovick said. "The costuming and sets have actually gone fantastic. Plenty of people were willing to help make the set amazing and the costumes are really creative."

With no practices this week due to the district being on its spring break, the cast will have just a few more days to make final adjustments and polish the play before opening night. However, Olson and the rest of her cast are confident things will go smoothly if everyone focuses and works hard down the home stretch.

"I hope we are ready to go when opening night comes around," Sally Bodlovick said. "I have faith in the cast. They just need to focus and give it their all."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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