The fruits of the efforts of Cardozo Middle School’s Drama Club this semester were put on display over the weekend, with a visit to Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland characters on stage in the auditorium. But the show almost didn’t go on.
The production, The Mad Tea Party, was created by playwright Brian D. Taylor in an original story with wit and whimsy like the classic tales. The play was staged by Cardozo sixth grade teacher and director Christine Wallen, with the cast made up of sixth through eighth grade students at CMS.
The familiar characters include Mad Hatter, Dormouse, and March Hare, who meet for a tea party to honor Time, who has forgiven the Hatter for past transgressions and set time right once again.
When the Jabberwock comes and wreaks his havoc, the tea party guests — including the Caterpillar, the Duchess, the Frog Footman, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum — decide that something must be done.
Time suggests they travel back through time to the moment when the Jabberwock arrives so that they might catch him. They try it several times, but White Rabbit’s watch is fast, Hatter’s is slow, so they just can’t catch him.
After some time pondering their frustration, Hare realizes they must fix the nick in Time — Time’s cloak, that is, to save them from the Jabberwock. After all, a stitch in Time saves nine.
Friends and family members of the cast packed the auditorium both Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, to enjoy the production.
Following curtain calls, director Wallen praised young Reagan Davidson, who took on the character of Time with just three days to work on the part. The original actor was forced to withdraw, which almost got the show cancelled, but Davidson, a crew member at the time, took on the part.
Only sharp-eyed audience members could have noticed that she had a script hiding inside the book she carried throughout the 45-minute show.
The cast included Joshua Vega as the Mad Hatter, Ryan Hetzler as the March Hare, Sammi Sandoval as Tweedledum and Kate Tigert as Tweedledee.
Also on stage were Shelby Jones in the dual roles of the Duchess and the Queen of Hearts, Taran Narula as the Caterpillar, Scarlett Freshwater as the White Rabbit. Davidson was Time, with Miguel Carrillo as both the Frog Footman and The Red Queen’s soldier, and Miranda Calderon as the Dormouse.
Three different students played Cheshire Cats, one through three: Crystala Albor, Mckensie Mote and Riley Thacker.
Keira Fagundes played the dreaded Jabberwock.
Playwright Taylor has penned a number of other mirthful plays, some of them musicals. They include City Mouse and Country Mouse, Dorothy in Wonderland, Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens, The Girl with the Golden Locks and the Princess Who Had No Name, and Princess Whatsername, among others.
And for those wondering, a Dormouse is a small rodent mostly found in Europe, although some species live in Africa or Asia. A nocturnal animal, dormice are particularly known for their long periods of hibernation.