First Graders Give a First-Class Performance

The 'Wonderland' cast with Principal Barbara Kenney
The 'Wonderland' cast with Principal Barbara Kenney

If you didn’t already know it, it would be hard to believe that the students who gave this spring’s first-class production of Alice In Wonderland are only in the first grade. And it appears that some in the Countrywood cast may have caught the acting bug. The play was co-directed by Countrywood music teacher Mr. Adam Slawitsky and first-grade teacher Ms. Adrienne Workman. “I love bringing the creative sides of children to light,” said Ms. Workman. “What amazes me every year is how all of the children memorize not only their own parts but everyone else’s part as well.”

Students, with the help of several teachers and Deputy Superintendent Ms. Jacqueline Harris, sang, danced, and acted their way through eight different scenes, including an unforgettable “tea party” scene featuring teachers Mr. Chris Clines, Mr. Steven Schmidt, and Mr. Adam Slawitsky singing the popular “Unbirthday Song.” 

Ms. Harris, playing the role of Madame Gardenia, led her ensemble of flowers, played by Gabriella Exantus, Cailin Claus, Natalie Garcia Alfaro, Jisel Garcia Flores, Maryam Malik, Hana ONeill, Tiziana Orona Gaber, Audrey Paterniani, Isabella Winch, and Maya Maldonado, in a delightful song titled “The Golden Afternoon.”

Staged during one of the busiest months in the district, the play was a big commitment by the Countrywood teachers as well as Ms. Harris. “I love working with my colleagues,” said Ms Workman. “We have a lot of laughs, and everyone is willing to participate, even though we don't have enough time to learn our lines. That’s why we had the Cat reading her lines from her paws, and the Mouse, March Hare, and Mad Hatter spreading their lines out across the table.”

Alice, played by a trio of actresses including Alexondra Georgiades, Alexis Guarisco, and Danielle Probst, is left by her mom, played by Ms. Liz Keenan, to take a nap, and the fun ensues as Alice is taken on a magical adventure where she meets the White Rabbits, played by Hailey Avitabile and Mya Polay, the Caterpillar, played by Brian Morgan, and the adorable Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, played by Jack Knesich and Jackson Keller.

Along the way, Alice enjoys the company of the King of Hearts, played by Rocco Pugliese, and, of course, the Queen of Hearts, expertly played by Ms. Adrienne Workman. One of the audience’s favorite scenes was the Queen of Hearts cards, played by Ilan Gavrielow, Gianpiero Arnone, Romel Farquharson, Gavin Fisch, William Pinero, and Francesco Sasso. And who can forget Ms. Carol Davis’s marvelous performance as the Cheshire Cat. “The children not only learn stage directions and protocol, but there is a great deal of reading and spatial relation concepts and math,” said Ms Workman.  “The children love performing and being on stage.”

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