Seton Hall Theatre performed their rendition of Alice, an adaptation of the classic Alice in Wonderland written by playwright Lindsay Price in the University Center on Oct. 14.
Kelsey Kaelin, who directed the play, is a former theatre major and current graduate student at Seton Hall. She said she and the team “combined many different aesthetics to achieve the desired result.”
“With current 21st-century humor and classic 80s hits, we captured a modernized curiosity,” Kaelin said. “The play gave us the roots, and we added all the care and love needed to create a flourishing garden.”
Kaelin said the production is an even more “eccentric” version of the original. She added that the show brought in a full house of attendees with people standing to watch.
“The response from friends and family members was overwhelming,” Kaelin said. “They eagerly embraced the modern twists we infused into the classic Alice.”
Auditions began in September and the production of Alice took about a month, according to Kaelin. Students were required to read lines from the play as well as write a 1-minute story, Kaelin said.
“This combination allowed us to get a glimpse of both their unique individuality and how they approached making the role their own through the sides from the script,” Kaelin said.
According to the club, SHU Theatre’s Alice is trademarked by the ability of the actors to improvise and put a personal twist on the characters they portray.
Madaline Krawchuk, a senior theater major who played the Queen of Hearts in Alice, said she tends to focus on the “motivations of her character.”
“If you understand why a character is doing something, you get a more authentic performance,” Krawchuk said.
Krawchuck also said it is important “to understand your character's relationship with the other characters.”
“This will create more believable interactions and another level of depth that will intrigue the audience,” Krawchuk said.
Dominick Valentine, a sophomore visual and sound media and marketing double major, said he played the Mad Hatter. He said he recalls his role as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in his high school’s production of Guys & Dolls.
“This is different from the Mad Hatter’s typical image,” Valentine said. “They’re usually very meek and British. Having the freedom to put my own twist on it was something that I really enjoyed.”
Valentine said his favorite moment in the play was when he, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse ran up and down the aisles, interacting with the kids and offering them tea.
He added that the cast hopes to increase participation in the theatre program even for those who are nervous about being on stage.
“Many people don’t realize that you don’t have to major in theatre or even any of the performing arts to participate, " Valentine said. “Although the cast is an eclectic bunch, freshmen through seniors of all different majors, we form a family.”
Victoria Shamis, a sophomore psychology major who played Alice herself, said she had a lot of learning curves thrown at her but was able to surmount them due to the support she received from her fellow theater members and her own abilities.
“Last year, as a bio major, theatre was my only creative outlet and where I made all my friends,” Shamis said. “It became my passion and has helped me with getting out of my shell, speaking in public and just growing overall as a person.”
To her fellow castmates, crew and the audience, Kaelin said “there will always be room for each of you at the tea party.”
Gianna Terrarosa can be reached at email@example.com