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'Alice in Wonderland' comes to Estacada

PAGE prepares to perform Lewis Carroll classic March 14-17 at the junior high auditorium


by: NEWS PHOTO: SCOTT JORGENSEN - Cast members from the PAGE production of Alice in Wonderland run lines during a recent rehearsal.

It’s a Tuesday night in Estacada, and a trial is taking place at the junior high school auditorium. A jury is seated and hears testimony as the queen sticks to her usual refrain of, “Off with their heads!”

This isn’t an alternate reality that has emerged, but it’s close: It’s the rehearsals for the Performing Arts Group of Estacada’s upcoming production of Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice in Wonderland.”

The performances are scheduled to take place March 14-17 in the auditorium, with Katie Murphy serving as director.

Although it’s her first time directing, Murphy has participated in past productions as an actress and as an assistant director.

“It’s a big learning curve,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s involvement in PAGE was prompted by her daughter Molly Murphy-Brown’s interest in the performing arts. Molly is actively involved in this effort, as she will play the role of Alice.

Casting for the production was done in December, and included several PAGE regulars.

“We definitely had plenty of interest,” Murphy said.

The 26-member cast spans multiple generations, with 10 elementary school and junior-high age performers, seven high schoolers and around a dozen adults.

Katrina Thompson plays the white rabbit, Josh Pardo is the Mad Hatter, William Kass is the March Hare, Niko Sampair is the Cheshire Cat, Ciara Schwimmer is the Doormouse, Amy Kammerer plays the Queen of Hearts, Gabby Paris is Humpty Dumpty, Lesel Ayers is Tweedledum and Natashia Pardo is Tweedledee. PAGE mainstay Pete Hamer plays the King of Hearts.

Aside from “Alice in Wonderland,” PAGE also will perform some of Carroll’s poems. Murphy said that is being done to enhance the production and allow more people to participate.

“I felt that the play was a little short,” she said.

One of the poems will be done in the form of a rap. Paul Stroebel is part of the poetry team, and said he is eager to make his contribution in that area.

This is the 12th performance put on by PAGE in the last 11 years. Murphy said she selected “Alice” because it appeals to children and adults.

“The reason I chose it is it works on different levels,” Murphy said.

At this point, the cast is working on determining the action of the play, including all of the entrances and exits. Props are being gradually introduced into the mix, with costumes scheduled to be added in early March.

Orchestracada also will take part in the production.

Rehearsals are being held three times a week, but that will step up as showtime gets closer.

The all-volunteer cast includes entire families. For example, Murphy’s husband, Tracy Brown, will play the role of the Caterpillar.

“It’s a really good team,” Murphy said. “That’s what I love about it.”

After “Alice,” PAGE will turn its focus to the International Team Tiny Film Festival, which is set to take place in April.



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