Magical lands meet: ‘Dorothy meets Alice’ in Act. 1 Scene 1 production
A bevy of young actors come together to bring to life two beloved children’s properties to the theatre stage.
Act 1 Scene 1 Theatre Co. and First Christian Church Port Arthur will present “Dorothy Meets Alice or The Wizard of Wonderland” beginning this weekend at First Christian.
Tale of two tales
Director Dana Howard said the whole story actually begins with a Groves kid named Judson who didn’t want to do his book report.
“It’s essentially the story of a young man who forgot to do a book report and he came across the Wizard of Oz movie before his dad makes him go to bed,” Howard said. “But then he steals the Alice in Wonderland book out of his sister’s room before he goes to sleep.”
This combination of classic children’s tales creates a unique twist for Judson, who starts the play at a loss for where he is.
“He wakes up in the woods in a magical place between Oz and Wonderland. But everything’s mixed up because he only read and saw the beginnings of each and doesn’t know how each ends,” Howard said. “He doesn’t know which character goes where and it’s his job to figure out who goes with whom — and he’s still got the book report to turn in in the morning.”
Finding the right cast
Howard said she knew she was going to have anywhere between 10 and 15 kids this summer and so wanted to look for something with a smaller cast.
“But I also wanted something that had enough meat to it so the kids would enjoy themselves,” she said. “I started Googling plays that fit and found this one. Who doesn’t love Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz? It seemed like the perfect fit.”
It also seemed to be the perfect opportunity for certain actors to indulge their dramatic side.
Sitala Fauster, 10, plays the Wicked Witch. She has acted in a couple of other plays and has been drawn to acting as a result.
“I think I like being the center of attention,” Fauster said. “Being in the spotlight, I like acting a lot because I love being dramatic.”
Lucas Wayne Howard, who plays the Mad Hatter, appears to be an old hat at being dramatic as well. The 10-year-old has acted in seven plays so far.
“I like the excitement, meeting new people and seeing old friends again and just having fun,” Howard said. “And wearing cool costumes.”
“I’ve been in a lot of plays,” Evie Deggs, 13, said. She plays Dorothy. “I like the thrill of the audience and the thrill of their emotions as they see you do stuff on stage.”
Magic of acting
Hannah DeHart, 11, plays the Queen of Hearts, aka the Red Queen. She said she enjoys the dynamic part of acting.
“I like how it’s unlike TV shows because it’s live-action,” she said. “You get to see people and see how they practice and how it all works… I think you really connect more with the play than with the show.”
Fauster said the hardest part for her when playing the witch is to not lose character.
“I have to make sure I’m not getting too sugary sweet and not be too bitter because of who I’m supposed to be,” Fauster said.
She said her favorite aspect of the play is the team-up she shares with fellow villain the Red Queen — until they betray each other because they’re villains.
“I’m very wicked,” DeHart said. “I steal the potion bottle from Alice and everything goes downhill for her from there.”
Howard said he enjoys the Mad Hatter character because it allows him to be sarcastic without getting into trouble.
“He’s a good guy because he helps everybody get together with who goes with (whom) in the play.”
DeHart said she loves the feeling of family and community within the theatre troupe.
“It turns out really great,” DeHart said. “At the end of the day, maybe we didn’t have the loudest voices or didn’t act the best, but it all comes together in the end.”
Likewise, Deggs said her favorite part of the play is all the characters coming together to solve a common problem.
“The whole cast pretty much teams up. Alice and Dorothy have a special bond,” Deggs said.
“I fell in love with it and everybody seems to really enjoy it,” Howard said. “Kids love the story because it makes them work together.”
Howard said the cast has been rehearsing — minus vacations — for six to seven weeks and it has been bringing them together.
“All the kids have done a fantastic job and I’m very proud of them,” Howard said.
All proceeds from “Dorothy Meets Alice” will go toward helping renovate First Christian Church.
“Since Act 1 Scene 1 started we’ve chosen to do almost all of our plays at First Christian Church in Port Arthur,” Howard said. “They were heavily affected by Harvey flooding; and so Act 1 has dedicated all proceeds to the church this season.”
Times and dates
“Dorothy Meets Alice” starts at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays. It runs for the weekends of July 27 and Aug. 3.
To make reservations, call 409-790-6782. All tickets cost $15.