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Down the rabbit hole

Sophie Mielke '25

May 10, 2024

For this year’s Spring Scenes, the Stony Batter Players performed Alice in Wonderland, adapted and directed by Matt Maurer. The familiar story follows Alice, a young girl who follows a rabbit down a rabbit hole. When she emerges from the hole, she finds herself in Wonderland, a place full of strange creatures, talking flowers, and a queen obsessed with croquet and decapitation.

The Friday night show was performed in the Boys Garden to give the audience the Wonderland experience. “I really wanted something that was going to work outside,” said Maurer. Unfortunately on Saturday, it rained, causing the play to be moved to the Hale Studio Theatre. “We had such great weather all along that we hadn’t really rehearsed it in the Hale. Everybody figured it out. Everybody just realized we had less space, and nobody got hurt,” said Maurer. 

Grace Beard ’25, played the ever-grinning Cheshire Cat: “I think it was definitely more playful than outside because you could hear the laughter…we could tell that the reaction of the audience was positive.” She was grateful that it rained on the last day as opposed to the opening night. “Everyone kinda let their guard down a little bit,” said Beard.

Another challenge the group faced was the large swarm of honeybees that took up residence in the Boys Garden during rehearsals. While looking for a hive, the swarm settled on a branch right above the cast. Will Dupuis, the Technology Department Systems Administrator, who is also a beekeeper, was able to remove around 40,000 bees from the garden. The bees removed weighed several pounds. “It ended up being nothing, but at the time it freaked us out. That was a temporary setback,” said Maurer. 

Maurer and the cast worked hard to produce a play that would entertain and amuse their audience. Tech crew was essential in making the props for the actors; then it became the actors’ job to bring them to life.

“Some of the ideas were mine; some of the ideas were theirs [the cast],” said Maurer. “A lot of the action, in this version, is described in the narration, which helps.”

The main props used were blocks painted like chess pieces. The cast maneuvered these blocks to create settings such as the rabbit hole.

“It was a process to learn how to act the characters,” says Margaux d’Arabian ’25, who played the Mouse, the Duchess, and the King of Hearts—her most memorable moment in the show perhaps being the Duchess’ horrible lullaby.

Beard ’25 agreed. “One of the harder parts was trying to figure out different directions I could take the character.” Since the story is older and minor characters often have short, nonsensical lines, a lot of interpretation fell onto the actors. “I tried to really amplify the attitude of the character,” said Beard.

The play was received well by the community. It was an enjoyable way to close out Stony Batter’s performances for the year, with laughter and a little bit of madness.

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