By Ron VandenBoom
It's an invitation to a tea party a tea party of a special kind in a world that gets curiouser and curiouser.
It's a world where a little girl named Alice falls through a rabbit hole and begins an adventure that's a little bit satire, a little bit adventure, and a whole lot of fun.
After all, says Alice, "I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I've changed several times since then."
And you might change too after seeing the Havre High School Drama Department's production of "Alice in Wonderland" this Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the high school theater.
A glance through the looking glass will cost adults $5, students $4, and children under 12 only $3.
The rabbit hole opens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and there will be a special matinee performance on Saturday at 2 p.m. followed by the evening performance at 7:30 p.m.
A cast of 48 students will portray this tale of a little girl's adventure through the wondrous, mystical, and imaginary lands beyond the rabbit hole and looking glass and into a land where the imagination has no bounds and the characters all appear mad.
Director of the play Grant Olson said this is perhaps the largest casts ever to perform on the Havre High stage and "it's been chaos."
A chaos that bodes well for the spectator.
"And 48 is just the cast," Olson said. "We have 10 or so on running crew and a class of 20 doing technical work, lights, sound, and stage managers."
The extra large staff is necessary for this production because of the many trap doors, sliding panels, and revolving platforms needed to portray the illusion of Wonderland. The stage has also been extended into the seating area to accommodate the large cast and to permit the trap doors and other props that create the illusion of Wonderland.
A bright day-glow backdrop and dozens of original costumes designed specifically for this play also add to the illusion.
Olson has added lighting affects and an assortment of classical and 1960s rock music such as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Steppenwolf to farther create a magical atmosphere.
The Lewis Carroll story of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is just pure fun, said Olson. "It's made for children to sit and enjoy and it's made for adults to think."
Olson will present the audience with a relatively young cast compared to other school productions and Alice, played by sophomore Amy Allison, is typical of the 50 percent of the cast that are new to the stage.
"She (Allison) had a great curiosity when she auditioned," Olson said, adding that he and Jay Pyette, technical director for the play, are in the process of developing a new crop of actors to replace those seniors that left last year or will be leaving this year.
Allison does a superb job of portraying the lost and bewildered Alice as she attempts to deal with the array of wondrous characters and magical surroundings of Wonderland. She is never out of sight of the audience the entire length of the show a feat that required that she memorize more than 90 minutes of dialog.
And "Whooooo are Youuuuu" to not indulge in the pleasure of seeing Alice in Wonderland as she travels from one encounter to another dealing with the bazaar and mysterious.
There's no real threat you will lose your head, despite what the queen commands, so come join the madness. After all, it's just a tea party, and you know what they say at tea parties, "we're all mad here and you must be too or you wouldn't have come here."