Davis High School is bringing back live drama performances in May with its student production of “Alice in Wonderland.”
Following the online production of “Clue” in January, “Alice in Wonderland” will be the first in-person production at Davis in over a year. The May shows will observe all health guidelines that apply to theater at that time and will be performed outside in the high school’s courtyard.
While the cast members will not be wearing masks for the performances, they will be staying apart from each other at mandated distances.
Performances are May 14, 15, 21 and 22. Exact showtimes will be announced on the Davis High School performing arts pages on Instagram (ac_davis_drama) and Facebook (Davis Performing-Arts), and are expected to start earlier than usual because of the lighting conditions with the outdoor setting.
“Alice in Wonderland” will be performed without any admission fee and will be open to audiences as large as safety guidelines allow, which could be an estimated 150 social-
The outdoor stage will be put together by a team headed by John Pleasants, the school’s stagecraft and set design teacher.
“I’m super excited, but very cautious at the same time,” said Shannon Ruiz, the director and head of the drama and choir departments at Davis. “We’re going to follow all the rules and the guidelines because student safety and their family’s safety comes first always.”
Why did Ruiz choose to stage this particular play?
“‘Alice in Wonderland’ was chosen by the students,” she said. “It was one of their top choices. I also just felt like it was an appropriate show because we can social distance on stage. There’s not a whole lot of ensemble numbers and there are many solo numbers, which makes it safe for the students and it just seemed to make sense during the pandemic.”
Carlee Richard, the program’s costumer, is also revved to get back to work, saying she had missed one of her favorite and most entertaining jobs. Costumes are a major part of what brings a show to life, and putting them together involves a lot of time, effort and help from everyone.
“It’s really a team effort,” said Richard. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears, literally, go into the costumes. And they’re gonna be great. I’m really, really excited.”
She says she’s especially pleased about the Cheshire cat and card costumes, and wants to make sure audiences look out for those.
This first live show of the school year at Davis will also be the last one for the seniors who are finally getting the chance to perform in person again.
“After such a rollercoaster of a year and everything being continuously shut down, I really didn’t have any hope of doing a musical, let alone in person,” said McKenna Prouse, a senior playing Alice in her fifth show at Davis. “So when the news came that there was an opportunity, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get back on stage again.”
If you’re familiar with Davis’ past shows, you may remember Prouse from her performance as Wendy in “Peter Pan and Wendy,” from the fall of 2019. She says that was her favorite role at Davis.
She believes the best part about drama at Davis has been the connections people form.
“I think a huge reason why Davis always puts on amazing shows is because of the chemistry that comes with each cast on and off the stage,” she said.
Austin Bowers, a senior, is playing the Mad Hatter during his seventh and final show at Davis.
“The Mad Hatter has always been a dream role for me,” he said. “And likewise, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ has always been a dream show to be in. So I’m very pleased with the show and my role. I’m really excited to see how this all turns out and how fun this character is going to be.”
Riley Hill, a senior playing the White Rabbit in her sixth and final show at Davis, has a bittersweet feeling about her last performance:
“I feel happy and sad at the same time,” she said. “I mean, it’s my last show ever in high school. I want it to go smoothly and slow, so I can enjoy my last high school show. I’m excited to perform a show in person again, even if it isn’t in the auditorium.”