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Alice Runs Amok

Want to foster a love of the arts in your child? Have a budding actor running around the house? Just need to get the kids out for an hour?

The UO’s Mad Duckling Children’s Theatre is your ticket. 

First up in Eugene’s traditional summer theater series at Amazon Park is Willard Simms’ adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. This half-hour production of the 1865 classic novel, directed by Tricia Rodley, hits the highlights and adds audience interaction to boot.

Alice, which starts at 11am on select days now through July 21, is widely appealing to the very youngest viewer. The nonsense and absurdity find a welcome audience in the toddler and sun-hat crew, but maintain the interest of the first- and second-grade patrons as well. 

Costumes looks as through they are pulled out of a magical trunk — some are amazing, some make do — giving the show an air of theatrical charm. Kids seemed to particularly enjoy the elaborate, Elvis-inspired caterpillar. The Tree/Queen of Hearts was awesome.

Performers span the gap between actor and child-care provider as they coax audience participation and establish characters. Antonia Gomez leads the show nicely as the narrator, ably making the quick change into a very mad Mad Hatter. Shannon McInally’s modern Alice, who has a magnificent snore, entrances children. And actors John Jeffrey, Cameron Walker and Martin Diaz-Valdes look like they’re having as much fun as the audience. Even stage manager Charles Van Duyn is dressed up as a charming Cheshire Cat as he manipulates props.

Bring a blanket, plenty of snacks and celebrate summer with Mad Duckling.

Alice in Wonderland plays 11 am July 12-14 and July 17-21 at Amazon Park; $5 for ages 3 and over; for further information, email madduckling@uoregon.edu or call 346-4204.