San Juan College production will open Thursday

'Alice in Wonderland' interpretation was written by late college instructor Mollie Mook-Fiddler, who died of ovarian cancer

Mike Easterling
measterling@daily-times.com
Brynna Matthews portrays the Queen of Hearts in the San Juan College Theatre production of "Alice in Wonderland."
  • The play is being directed by Fort Lewis College graduate Alyse Neubert.
  • 'Alice in Wonderland" will be staged six times over the next two weekends in the Little Theater.
  • This new version of the Lewis Carroll classic features puppetry and acrobatics.

FARMINGTON — Fort Lewis College graduate Alyse Neubert and San Juan College theater instructor Mollie Mook-Fiddler had talked for a long time about working together on one of the college's productions.

So when Mook-Fiddler wrote a new stage adaptation of the classic Lewis Carroll novel "Alice in Wonderland," it seemed like the perfect opportunity for that to happen. Neubert was living in New York, but she eagerly joined Mook-Fiddler to polish the script in anticipation of directing the college's production.

Unfortunately, their plans of working together evaporated last fall when Mook-Fiddler, 42, died of ovarian cancer. Neubert, who is serving as an adjunct professor this semester at the college, is still directing the production that opens Thursday night in the Little Theatre, but she won't have Mook-Fiddler there to offer guidance and explain the nuances of her script.

"I didn't know her incredibly well," Neubert said. "But I've gotten to know her through the students. So it's been a process of checking with the students and asking, 'What do you think she meant here?' I've learned a little bit more about Mollie through her words."

RELATEDMook-Fiddler remembered as empathetic, caring

Alyse Neubert

Alice Irvin plays Alice in the production, while Brynna Matthews portrays the Queen of Hearts/Sister. Kevin Rothlisberger is the Mad Hatter/Dodo, and Kevin Tschetter is the White Rabbit. Harrison Aaron, Charles Dobey, Maddy Easley, Brooke Blackburn, Holly Fox, Allison Wulfert, Kolbie Richardson and Mike McDonald round out the cast.

The crew includes Tressa Smith, James Padilla, Ed Hasenbalg, Linann Easley and Matthew Dranzik.

Mook-Fiddler left behind an nontraditional interpretation of "Alice in Wonderland," and Neubert and her cast and crew have been working for several weeks to bring it to life. Puppetry and acrobatics are part of Mook-Fiddler's vision, and Neubert said this is likely to be a far more physical production of Carroll's story than anyone has ever seen.

Alice Irvin rehearses a scene from the San Juan College Theatre production of "Alice in Wonderland."

"We've been working on a lot of stuff that I think is new for the cast. … And they've been really good about taking it on and going with it," she said. "It's a different kind of theater for them."

One way or another, Neubert is expecting a strong reaction from the audience.

"I think they're either going to love it or they're going to hate it," she said. "But it's going to get them excited."

Mike Easterling covers education, health and the environment for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

The cast of San Juan College's "Alice in Wonderland" rehearses a scene from the production that opens Thursday in Farmington.

If you go

What: San Juan College Theatre production of "Alice in Wonderland"

When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and March 17 to 18, and 2 p.m. March 19

Where: Little Theatre on the San Juan College campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington

Tickets: $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for children 12 and younger at sanjuancollege.edu/silhouette.

More information: Call 505-566-3430.