Behind the scenes of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Sofia Murillo

On Dec. 15 at Bonita Vista High’s Bolles theater the drama department held Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Act One: Scene Five is The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party where (left to right) the Marche Hare played by senior Anthony Lopez, Mouse played by senior Kailea Vickers, Mad Hatter played by senior Tommy Schreurenbrand and Alice two played by senior Madison Almodovar sit at the table.

At the doors of the Bolles theater, guests are greeted with a pamphlet that reads: “Bonita Vista High (BVH) presents Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” The 2022 year ended whimsically with the adapted play by the BVH Drama Department production. A play they have been working on since the beginning of the semester made its long awaited debut from Dec. 13th to 16th.

The play consists of two acts, each containing five scenes. In the opening scene the audience follows Alice and the White Rabbit through the rabbit hole which leads into a fantastical world filled with childhood fantasies. While the audience enjoyed the play, the Drama Department worked hard behind the scenes to produce a three night showing.   

Considering Alice has lengthy lines, both sophomore Saphira Mensinger and senior Madison Almodovar played Alice in the play. There were careful considerations to be made about the line distribution between the two actresses to seamlessly transition between scenes.

“I’m in five and a half [scenes] so it’s a very even split between the Alices,” Mensinger stated. “The drama department purchased the Alice costumes so that they would be identical.” 

Moreover, Mensinger was very pleased with the way the play came together in the end. She is a strong believer that the crew’s efforts were key to having the play fulfill their expectations.   

“I feel very good about this play. I think that we’ve been doing a great job and everybody’s hard work has been showing, which is really nice to see,” Mensinger stated.  

The whole production was student-led and run with the overview of director and theater production teacher Rosamaria Sias. Despite not having a team of teachers helping her with the production like other schools, Sias emphasizes that the students work incredibly hard to collaborate on a successful show. 

“One thing we are proud of as a drama department is that this is all student-led. They are the ones that do the fundraising. I want anyone coming to the play to know that this is all created, funded, and produced by students,” Sias said.

Similarly, senior and Assistant Director Emma Sykes explains how much elbow grease the stage crew has put into this production. Much of the designs were made by the stage directors rather than bought. 

“It may not seem like a lot but everything was either bought or was made by hand by the Stage Manager Danica Fincher and Set Design Person Fernando Cava,” Sykes stated. 

Notably, Sykes was the wizard behind the curtain. During the play she ensured everything ran smoothly. According to the special thanks on the back of the pamphlet, Sykes gave an authoritative presence and creative vision to the production.   

“I manage actors and tech. I’m the go-between Ms. Sias and the rest of our cast and crew,” Sykes stated. “While I’m backstage during the play I’m running around checking on set, props, sound, lighting, mics, actors, making sure transitions are good and managing curtains.” 

Sias describes how this play differs from their previous productions. Visual aesthetics was more of a priority because Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has curious concepts and colors. Compared to the previous interactive play, Mystery at Shady Acres, this play would have to capture audiences visually. 

“It’s going to come down to the set and the costumes,” Sias stated. “I’m not worried about the actors having problems memorizing or character development, I worry about the costume pieces and the stage.” 

Similarly, Sykes felt the pressure of managing the visual elements of the play because it required a lot of fast transitions between scenes. She lists this as one of the biggest challenges with this play along with having more people to work with.   

“This play was more complicated because there’s a bigger cast and more movement between scenes,” Sykes stated. “Last year we got away with having one set but this year when blackout hits [lights turn off in theater] we are moving the entire scene in 10 to 15 seconds.”

Furthermore, Mensinger believed that the whole production struggled as there was a lack of people to help stage crew members.

“We have a limited behind the scenes crew so it’s a lot of work for those people,” Mensinger stated. “Having so much to do in so little time with so little people was the most difficult.”  

Although there were many challenges in developing the play, the time and commitment put in by some of the leaders shined through the difficulties. Mesinger describes the supportive atmosphere and people involved in the project. 

Our crew has had the patience of a saint and the creativity of Da Vinci. It was just absolutely perfect.”

— senior and Assistant Director Emma Sykes

“Everybody behind the scenes and in the production is super important but without Emma Sykes and Danica Fincher, we wouldn’t be able to put on such a killer performance every time,” Mensinger stated. “They are there when you need them and they are there when you think you don’t.” 

When the lights dimmed and the curtains closed, cheers and applause filled the Boles theater. After a semester’s worth of work, the production was a success. Sykes reflects back on the combined efforts of the cast and crew and commends them for all their dedication.    

“Our crew has had the patience of a saint and the creativity of Da Vinci. It was just absolutely perfect,” Sykes stated. “I will never stop singing the praises of my cast and crew.”