‘Alice’ Senior Theatre Project This Weekend Condenses Novels, Adds Dancing

Lewis Carroll’s timeless story of Alice in Wonderland is coming to life at 8 p.m. this Saturday in Alford Auditorium. “Alice, A Walk Through Wonderland,” the senior theatre project of Eric Rasmussen, combines the stories of Carroll’s two “Alice” novels into about an hour and half production – dancing included.

“He’s condensed it down into an adaptation that definitely shows his personality in how he has told that story in addition to being the choreographer and designing dance numbers that illustrate Alice’s disorientation, her confusion and what the other personalities of some of those characters are,” said Diane Merchant, the theatre professor who’s advising Rasmussen on the project. “So I think people who see it and know Eric will definitely see his handprint in the production very clearly.”

Rasmussen, who not only choreographed the dance numbers but also directed the play and designed costumes, also wrote it himself. He said this is because he loves the story of Alice but had to meet certain requirements for the senior theatre project as far as the size of the production.

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Anna Zavodney plays the Queen of Hearts. | Photo From: Caleb Smith

“Doing a full production of Alice would take a lot more effort than like a smaller version, too,” Rasmussen said, “so I wanted to keep my sanity while doing all these other classes and stuff. “

To condense the story of Alice into 90 minutes, Rasmussen said he outlined the full story, noted characters he wanted to include and narrowed it down to the scenes and characters he wanted.

“As I was reading other interactions that she had with other characters that I wasn’t going to be putting into my script,” Rasmussen said, “I realized that that’s when I could put like their conversations in, but it was just through a different character.”

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Damaris Lindner, second from left, plays Alice. | Photo From: Caleb Smith

Seven actors, two guys and five girls, are playing roles such as the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse. All the actors besides Alice, played by Damaris Lindner, are playing multiple characters, Rasmussen said.

Coming into Cedarville, Rasmussen knew he wanted to be a director, which has been reaffirmed through his experiences here, he said. For “Alice, A Walk Through Wonderland,” he’s also been the choreographer.

“I never really danced before college or had like a huge interest in it,” Rasmussen said, ”and I guess sophomore year is when I started picking that up with AYO and different things that the theatre was doing.”

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Eric Rasmussen, fourth from right, cast five girls and two guys in his senior theatre project, “Alice, A Walk Through Wonderland.” | Photo From: Caleb Smith

Rasmussen said “Alice, A Walk Through Wonderland” is different from other senior theatre projects he has seen at Cedarville. He said his freshman and sophomore years, a lot of them were serious and dark while his is a light comedy.

“If you just want to come and relax and enjoy a night of comedy,” Rasmussen said, “this is the place.”

Zack Anderson is a senior journalism and TPC major and managing editor for Cedars. This means he spends way too much time in the J-Lab and Tyler 102, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lauren Eissler contributed reporting to this story.

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