UMD Theatre brings Alice in Wonderland to the Glensheen

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The UMD Theatre Department is going down the rabbit hole as they are taking Alice in Wonderland off the stage and on to the grounds of the Glensheen mansion.

The play will be an immersive experience for audiences as they follow around classic characters to some of the best nooks and crannies of the grounds.

Students are preparing all the magic for Monday, and many of them have never done something like this before. Theresa Schultz who plays Alice says, “it’s really different to do a show outdoors compared to normal stage productions, but it can be exciting in the fact that this is not normal to do even when you are a theatre student.”

Director Jenna Soleo-Shanks this was an amazing opportunity to teach theatre students a whole new set of skills. She says, “I mean one of the things we are always trying to teach our students is to be flexible, to problem solve, and to use their creative problem solving skills.”

And those skills definitely had to come into play as the team had to adapt to the elements. Thressa says, “This has definitely been a test in skill in the dark, and projection, and everything battling those elements of nature.”

Another thing that was unexpected was how loud Lake Superior could be. The sound in general has hard for the actors to work with. Zack Pollitt who plays Mad Hatter says, “The sound that has to come out of you has to be so much different because it’s bouncing off of trees. Not like the walls behind you [and] in front of you, so that everyone in the audience can hear you.”

Even with those challenges, the crew is loving doing theatre in an unconventional type of way at the mansion. Something that was sought out in the very beginning of the process. Jenna says, “I had always wanted to do a show at Glensheen and the grounds are so beautiful. And so we thought about this as a stage and once we knew we could have the partnership then we really got to work and said what would be the best play to do here. And Alice in Wonderland really was something that grew out of looking around at this magical place.

She is also very proud of the students for putting in all the creative effort into the show.