Etown’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” – The Etownian

Over the first two weekends in November, the Elizabethtown College Theater Department put on their fall play, “Alice in Wonderland.” This production was directed by Communications Art Teacher for the School District of Lancaster Kristin Wolanin and featured students both on stage and behind the scenes.

After the audience filed into Tempest Theatre, Wolanin members came out to thank the audience for coming and introduced the show. Then, the show began, and the cast took the audience down the rabbit hole and into the fantastical world of Wonderland.

The show was as chaotic, goofy, and nonsensical as Wonderland itself. The student cast and crew members did an outstanding job bringing the beloved characters of “Alice in Wonderland” to life.

Sophomore Lindsay McCommons played Alice and did a fantastic job embodying the innocence and whimsy of the character. Sophomore Aaron Oliver, first-year Kayli Hose and senior Logan Crosby played off each other’s energies well during their scenes together as the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse, respectively. First-year Laney Humble dazzled the audience as the Queen of Hearts. All together, the cast of 12 students turned Tempest Theater into Wonderland.

While the show on stage was amazing, the work behind the scenes was equally interesting. Sophomore stage manager Stephanie Motz did a lot of work to make sure rehearsals went well. As stage manager, she assisted the director with rehearsal notes and other things that went into the production. During the show, she was up in the tech booth giving out cues to the crew members. For a job so involved as stage manager, it was a surprise to learn that Motz is relatively new to the world of theatre, just getting into it last year.

“I just fell in love with it,” she said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with my major, but it was a fun extracurricular.”

Although she is typically busy during the show giving cues for lighting and sound, Motz is able to actually watch the show during scenes with fewer cues. One of these happens to be her favorite part of the show.

“The entire Mad Hatter tea party scene is so funny to me,” Motz said. All the actors in that scene are actually hilarious. I don’t think there’s been one time that I haven’t laughed at it.

Another member of the outstanding crew is senior Emma Mesko. She was the costume shop manager and the costume designer for “Alice in Wonderland.”

“Every single piece that is in that show has been through my hands, been approved by me and been approved by the director, and a lot of them I’ve made,” she said.

Due to her heavy participation in theater last year, Mesko was actually part of the show selection committee for the fall play, and she was the one who suggested they do “Alice in Wonderland.”

As costume designer, Mesko loves all the costumes in the show, but her favorite is the White Rabbit, played by sophomore Julia Yudichak.

“Her hat was actually the first thing I finished for the show,” Mesko said. “It has this fun whimsy to it that I really enjoy.”

Both Mesko and Motz agreed that the people are the best part of the Theater Department.

“There’s just so much talent in there, so it’s just meeting all these wonderful people,” Motz said.

“Honestly, the people I’ve met through theater have now become my best friends,” Mesko said.

They also both praised Wolanin and staff members, such as Barry Fritz.

Barry [Fritz] is wonderful,” Mesko said. “I adore him. Even though we don’t have a department anymore, he’s still there, and he still treats it like it’s a department, and it makes us feel very validated in why we do it. Because of people like him.”

The Etown Theater Department has some great events coming up in the spring semester. In February, the New Playwrights Festival will feature plays developed in the Fall 2022 TH200 Playwriting class. The Theater Department will also be putting on Plays in A Day, an event where short plays are written, rehearsed and performed in under 24 hours. Cabaret, a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS event, will take place in April. The main stage production is set to be in March, and the title is yet to be announced.

There is a lot to look forward to with the Theater Department, and support from the Etown campus and community is what keeps it thriving and able to put on outstanding productions.