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Home > Clerc Center > Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland features new twists on old classic

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland features new twists on old classic

Image: The White Queen (Jessica Nortey) tells Alice (Rebecca Hoffman) about her bad hair day in MSSD's production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The White Queen (Jessica Nortey) tells Alice (Rebecca Hoffman) about her bad hair day in MSSD's production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Image: Alice  takes part in the Mad Hatter's Tea Party with fellow guests, the March Hare (Brennan Terhune-Cotter) and the Mad Hatter (Eric Epstein).

Alice takes part in the Mad Hatter's Tea Party with fellow guests, the March Hare (Brennan Terhune-Cotter) and the Mad Hatter (Eric Epstein).

Image: In the movie clip at the end of the performance, Alice escapes from the pack of cards into House One.

In the movie clip at the end of the performance, Alice escapes from the pack of cards into House One.

What would Lewis Carroll have made of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) stage adaptation of his characters to living in a deaf Wonderland? The MSSD fall showcase, held on November 10-12, featured Alice's Adventures in Wonderland adapted from the original story for a combined stage and film production in American Sign Language with deaf characters.

The production, directed by  MSSD teacher Tami Santimyer, brought to life Alice's adventures in novel ways. Representing Alice's fall down the rabbit hole into Wonderland can be a challenge in a stage production. Santimyer handled it with the use of black light to set up a dark stage where only white objects glowed in a ghostly way. Mime characters wearing white gloves formed an undulating circle of hands through which Alice jumped down the hole in pursuit of the White Rabbit and spun around and around in confusion while the hands waved around her during her descent.

MSSD students under the direction of set designer Chris Mortenson created colorful set pieces that complimented the fantastic places of Wonderland like the Red Queen's house where all the furniture was askew and out of proportion, and the Cheshire Cat grinned out from an old English style Aga stove. For the Mad Hatter's tea party scene the set designers integrated a modern "Tea Party" theme into the decoration with photographs of Tea Party politicians and ballot boxes for seating.

The final part of the production featured a film reprise of the highlights of the story filmed by two MSSD students, Victor Espinoza and Lukas Morkevicius, under Santimyer's direction in and around Gallaudet University President's residence, "House One." The architecture of "House One" mirrored the Victorian era in which the original Alice was written by Carroll. The film even included comic bloopers and outtakes.

The MSSD Performing Arts Program stages three productions each year, the fall showcase, the winter dance concert, and the spring musical. The winter dance concert, DANCE-tastic, held February 2-4, 2012, will honor 30 years of dance at MSSD. The spring musical, on May 10-12, 2012, will feature the ever-popular Broadway show, Guys and Dolls. All performances will be held at MSSD Theatre Malz. For ticket reservations, e-mail Yolanta.Rozynek@gallaudet.edu, call (202) 651-5031, or fax (202) 651-5109.

More information on MSSD Performing Arts