Lewis Carroll classic begins tomorrow in Estacada

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO -  Cast members Molly Murphy-Brown, Kamryn Tenbush, Alleah Schwab and James Tenbush appeared at an Estacada business to help promote the show. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOIt’s a Tuesday night in Estacada, and a trial is in session at the junior high school auditorium. The jury is seated and listening to testimony as the queen sticks to her usual refrain: “Off with their heads!”

This isn’t an alternate reality, but it’s close: It’s a rehearsal of the Performing Arts Group of Estacada (PAGE). The coming production is a Lewis Carroll’s classic, “Alice in Wonderland.”

Director Katie Murphy of Sandy has performances scheduled March 14-17 in the auditorium.

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, and 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 and junior-high-age performers, seven high school students and 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 Dormouse, 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 past 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.

The cast is working on the action of the play, including all of the entrances and exits. Props are being gradually introduced into the mix, and the costumes are finished.

Orchestracada also will take part in the production.

Rehearsals were being held three times a week, but that was increased as opening night approached.

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, set to take place in April.

The first performance of “Alice in Wonderland” begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at the Estacada Junior High auditorium. Performancess also will be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, with a matinee set for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 17.

Donations for the shows will be accepted at the door.

The auditorium is at the corner of Sixth Street and Main in Estacada.

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