Cheyanna Miller, left, plays Alice and Aysha Maas plays the Red Queen in Maple Ridge Secondary’s COVID-version of Alice In Wonderland. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Cheyanna Miller, left, plays Alice and Aysha Maas plays the Red Queen in Maple Ridge Secondary’s COVID-version of Alice In Wonderland. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge production takes Alice down the COVID rabbit hole

Maple Ridge Secondary films COVID-themed production of Alice In Wonderland

Into the rabbit hole Alice goes.

In this version of the 1865 story by British author Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland, Maple Ridge Secondary takes on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our version of Alice In Wonderland is a modern-day version of a young girl going on a journey of figuring out who she truly is and then being thrown into self isolation and trying to navigate things through there,” explained Cara Roberts, musical theatre drama teacher and director or the production, who felt the story was a great platform for reflecting what’s happening in society today.

Alice is trying to get back to a relationship that she started before the pandemic, and along the way, Roberts said, she meets characters telling her to do her part.

The caterpillar Alice meets along the way, a reference to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, reminds her to be calm, kind and safe and gives her hand sanitizer.

And the Red Queen represents U.S. President Donald Trump, added Roberts, and some of the antics that have been happening under his watch.

“There’s a lot of talk of time before the pandemic started as being the real world, and people saying I wish I could get back to where things were normal after the pandemic’s over,” noted assistant director Ella Treleaven.

“So, Wonderland is more like where the pandemic is happening,” she said.

Roberts wants to stress that they have followed all the safety guidelines for the production, that the students have been working on for the past 10 weeks.

There was only one dress rehearsal on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and one live performance in front of between five and 10 staff members that were physically distanced two metres apart.

The group of 29 students in the production, that includes three students who worked on the technical side, are grouped together in one cohort and are allowed to socialize without masks within that cohort.

However, Roberts said, they were so amazing that they worked with masks on throughout the whole process.

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All of the music for the show was prerecorded by the students with masks on, so there was no live singing at any time during the performance.

The live performance was filmed by a professional videographer and will be distributed to family and students to watch on their own time in their own social bubble.

Roberts said the show couldn’t go on without the help of her technical team including her stage manager and assistant director, Treleaven, lighting operator Ella MacKinnon and sound engineer Max Goddard.

Roberts and Treleaven are considering posting the video of the live performance to share with the public. Possibly with seniors in the community, Treleaven said, people who are more isolated during the pandemic.

Roberts thinks that the more people they can share the production with, the better.

“There’s some comic relief in it and there’s some sound bites that people will resonate with and I just think it’s a very relevant story right now,” said Roberts.

“I think that would be a nice gift.”

A decision on a video broadcast will be made by Monday. Anyone interested in seeing the performance can contact the school at 604-463-4175.

Cast includes: Aysha Maas who plays the Red Queen; Savannah Kozak who plays the White Queen; Cheyanna Miller who plays Alice and Danea Mason who plays the Cheshire Cat.

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