Down the rabbit hole

Molly Gierhart, left, and Marry Anne McCormack rehearse a scene from “Alice in Wonderland” on Wednesday afternoon at the Cooper Center for Creative Arts.

The actors at the Cooper Center for Creative Arts are bringing their own adaptation of a classic novel the stage next weekend.

“Alice in Wonderland” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 31-June 2 at the Cooper Center stage, 1174 N. Fourth St. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Beer and wine will be for sale before the show and during intermission.

Director Kayc DeMaranville said the production is based on the Lewis Carroll novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” published in 1865. Since then, the famous story of a girl who falls through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world has been adapted countless times for stage and screen.

“We made it into our own script where we can incorporate lots of music and dance in order to tell the story,” she said.

The Cooper Center production includes actors with disabilities alongside actors without disabilities. The production features beautiful scenery, costumes, lighting, special effects and choreography in creating a fantasy world and its fantastical inhabitants, DeMaranville said.

“It’s a really visually powerful show,” she said.

DeMaranville said she’s been waiting for a while to tackle “Alice in Wonderland.”

“Sometimes as a director, you sit on a script or an idea for a script until you think maybe you have the perfect cast,” she said.

The production stars Kayla Christofer in the title role, in her second Cooper Center production. DeMaranville said Christofer is on stage for the entire production but has the stamina and focus to draw in the audience the whole time.

“We’re really fortunate,” she said.

The 12-person cast has been rehearsing for more than three months, with many actors in multiple roles. DeMaranville said the production is a comedy, but with meaningful scenes and character relationships throughout. Audiences can expect a mixture of spoken scenes and dance in the family-friendly production.

DeMaranville said the collaborative nature of Cooper Center productions has emerged on the stage through Alice’s story, as the title character must figure out how she fits into a strange world where she’s an outsider.

“She has to rely on her relationships with other people, and she has to rely eventually on herself to be brave and strong and rescue herself from a world that turns rather sour for her,” DeMaranville said.

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