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Unified theater takes students down the rabbit hole

By Matthew Hope
April 9, 2024

McNary’s Unified Theater class is putting on “Alice in Wonderland” for English classes to come and see. This play happens sometime in the last two weeks of April, and will take about fifty minutes. It will start about fifteen to twenty minutes after class starts—and English teachers will lead students to the theater for the play.

Mary Jespersen is the director for the play. “It’s going really, really good,” she said. “I feel excited and happy.” Jespersen’s favorite play is “Little Shop of Horrors” and her favorite--that she’s acted in-- is either “The Play That Goes Wrong” or “Mamma Mia! The musical.” Jespersen said.

Antonio Rymer plays the part of the Doorknob, and also the baby oysters. “At the start [...] I was a little nervous but when I started to get the hang of it I started to feel a little happier,” Rymer said. He has acted before in “Hansel and Gretel” and “Wreck it Ralph,” his favorite being the latter.

“I’m the Mad Hatter,” Michael Tognoli said. “I’m mad like the Mad Hatter, I’m crazy [laughing].” He hasn’t been in any plays yet, so “Alice in Wonderland” is his first. “I just found out about it and I was like, eh, might as well so I signed up for it. [...] I began at the start of this school year,” Tognoli said.

Lillian Umphress isn’t actually in “Alice in Wonderland ''—she helps out as a “partner” instead. The job of a partner is to help the actor(s) with acting, blocking (where everything on the stage goes), and line memorization. “I love performing. I’ve been doing it since the third grade. [I’m] coming up on year ten. It’s fun,” Umphress said. Her favorite play that she’s been in is “The Play That Goes Wrong,” as it’s also the only one she’s participated  in. “[... M]aybe I’m biased,” Umphress said.