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Home > Clerc Center > “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” blends stage and film

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” blends stage and film

Image: Alice runs away from a pack of cards in the House One garden.

Alice runs away from a pack of cards in the House One garden.

Image: A model of the facade of House One and the real House One in the background (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

A model of the facade of House One and the real House One in the background (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

Image: First Lady Vicki Hurwitz entertains the cast with the history of House One. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

First Lady Vicki Hurwitz entertains the cast with the history of House One. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

Image: Alice, curled up by the fish pond on the grounds the House One, dreams of Wonderland. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

Alice, curled up by the fish pond on the grounds the House One, dreams of Wonderland. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

The Model Secondary School (MSSD) Performing Arts Program is starting out its new season with a production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, based on the beloved children's story written by Lewis Carroll. The show opens at MSSD's Theatre Malz on November 10 with an afternoon performance, and evening shows on November 11 and 12. Audiences of all ages will enjoy following Alice on her fantastic dream voyage down the rabbit hole and into a land of strange creatures and odd members of royalty.

The MSSD production will be adding a new dimension to the traditional stage play with inclusion of a YouTube-style video as part of the production. The original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland book appeared in print in 1867 during the middle of the Victorian era in England. It just so happens that the campus of Gallaudet University, on which MSSD is located, has a fine Victorian mansion built in 1867. The director of the play, Tami Santimyer, thought it would be fitting and appropriate to use the mansion and its grounds to film the short video portion that will be included into the school play.

The family living in that historic house happens to be the president and first lady of Gallaudet University, Alan and Vicki Hurwitz. Mrs. Hurwitz graciously agreed for the cast members to come and film on the grounds of House One, as the president's house is called on campus, and to shoot some of the footage inside the house. On the day of the shoot, the director, student videographer, and the cast members spent over three hours on site. Mrs. Hurwitz watched from the porch of the house as Alice, in a startling blue dress and white stockings, darted across the lawn chased by a pack of cards.

While the director was filming a scene inside the front hall of the house with the main characters, Mrs. Hurwitz entertained the rest of the cast in the front parlor. She shared information on the history of the house, and the students had an opportunity to ask questions about what it was like to live at House One. The students were curious about her family life, and what the rooms on the second and third floor were like. Mrs. Hurwitz said her children were all grown, and, as a retired school teacher, she loves to have interaction with the students on campus. She mentioned that is currently working with Gallaudet's Video Services department on a video history of House One.

For the video's production, the play's set designer made a model of the side façade of House One to be used in the filming. Mrs. Hurwitz, impressed by the quality of the model and its detailed accuracy of her home, asked if she could have the small house after the production concludes to keep it on hand for when her grandchildren visit.

If you are in the Washington, D.C., area, come and enjoy this delightful production. All performances will be held at Theatre Malz at MSSD located on the campus of Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002.

For ticket reservations, e-mail Yolanta.Rozynek@gallaudet.edu, call (202) 651-5031, or fax (202) 651-5109.