Prairie Fire Children’s Theater production of “Alice in Wonderland” was more than just a theatrical experience

Students from Isle and Onamia from kindergarten to graduates were able to experience the smell of grease paint, the wonder of costumes and the agony of learning lines as they prepared and performed “Alice In Wonderland” at Onamia High School. Auditions were held on Monday, June 5, with the final performance on Friday, June 9.

Geri Pohlkamp is the director fo the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant. Pohlkamp said the entire production was paid for with funding from the grant.

“Some communities have to charge families for them to participate,” Pohlkamp said. “We were able to use grant funding, so there was no out of pocket expense to the families.”

Last year, the production had only nine students participate. This year there were 40 who showed up for the auditions.

“Basically everyone who auditions gets a part,” Pohlkamp said.

Spending a week with professional actors who guide the budding young actors through the art of theater was a great way for them to kick off their summer fun.

This year the production was lead by PFCT actors Lauren Longyear and Derek Brookens. The team brings everything the production will need including costumes, props and makeup. They also deliver a very positive message to the kids about listening, following directions and having fun. There is zero tolerance for bullying.

“We don’t make fun of people in any way,” Longyear told the young performers. “We only use positive words. Capeesh?”

“Capeesh,” the children responded in unison.

As the performers were getting into costumes, there were many smiles and much laughter.

“All of the Dodo birds stand over here,” Longyear said pointing. “Deck of cards, I want you over here.”

As the dress rehearsal performance began, the young actors did not always remember every line. But with a little help from the professionals and other young performers, the production was a success.

“If the kids miss a line, it really doesn’t matter,” Pohlkamp said. “It is all about the experience rather than perfection.”

The curtain closed on yet another wonderful summer production by local performers and PFCT. The actors all gave a wonderful performance.


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