In the enchanting world of Wonderland, curiosity reigns supreme with every twist and turn leading to a new adventure. Inspired by Lewis Carroll's timeless tale "Alice in Wonderland," Mercer Players performed their debut of this classic in Tattnall Square Park on Sept. 21.
The show was performed on Tattnall’s grassy lawn and welcomed a diverse group of spectators, ranging from elementary schoolers and teachers to Mercer faculty and families, all enjoying the outdoor performance.
The magical journey began with Alice (played by Madison Langton ‘25) and her lively encounters in Wonderland. Challenged by her ever-changing size after sipping potions and devouring cakes, Alice's adventures took her through races, peculiar croquet matches with flamingos and hedgehogs and encounters with cryptic creatures. In Wonderland, logic takes a backseat. The play unfolds with a whimsical logic unique to the tale, captivating the audience with its imaginative twists and turns.
Behind this extraordinary production, Mercer Players faced significant challenges, including adapting to an outdoor setting and a compressed rehearsal schedule. Despite these hurdles, the team delivered a visually stunning performance.
Stage manager and president of Mercer Players Tori Kershaw '25 emphasized the program's ability to adapt swiftly, from incorporating microphones for enhanced sound quality to innovatively handling props and scenic elements.
“The adaptation was the biggest challenge, because most of the things that we do are the rehearsal process, which is usually about six weeks, so everything was kind of on two times the speed,” Kershaw said.
Kershaw also highlighted microphones as a significant challenge. Typically, the Mercer Players avoid them due to the small theater size. However, for the outdoor show, microphones were necessary to ensure clear sound for the entire audience.
“Mics are always a problem. It’s just a lot. It’s something we don’t normally do here. It’s a big challenge to get all the mics up and running, especially because we have eight mics and 30 cast members,” Kershaw stated.
One of the most prominent standout features of the show was the incorporation of puppets, adding a distinctive layer to character portrayal. The puppeteer for Dodo, Gen Haskins '24, shared her experience, emphasizing the unique challenges and joys of puppetry.
“For the Dodo bird, that meant that while I may not have been acting like my entire body, I was reacting to what the puppet was doing and providing the vocals for it,” Hawkins said.
Both Kershaw and Haskins expressed their enthusiasm for engaging younger audiences through theater, underscoring the importance of introducing arts to children.
“I just love the idea of bringing theater to younger audiences to get more kids into it, because I just think it is so important when you are young to try the arts and get into theater. It was very beneficial for me when I was little and I know a lot of friends that feel the same way,” Kershaw said.
“By bringing in all of these interactive elements that theater provides, it helps you reach every student and make sure that they do not feel uncomfortable, but also they are still getting to have some fun with something they may not have experienced before,” Hawkins said.
When the final curtain fell, the Mercer Players' "Alice in Wonderland" left the audience not only captivated but also inspired, reminding everyone of the transformative power of creativity and theater.
In a world where the impossible is the norm, this unique rendition of "Alice in Wonderland" reminded viewers of magic in the forms of creativity and imagination colliding on stage, leaving an imprinted mark on all who ventured down the rabbit hole.
Mercer Players will be performing "Alice in Wonderland" one last time on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m.
Karisha Khadayat is a student at Mercer University and a contributing writer for the Mercer Cluster