The cast of Chatfield High School's spring drama productions rehearsed at Potter Auditorium recently. The students will perform three short plays on May 17 and 18. Lying in front is Kayla Nelson. In the first row, from left, are Kalli Kohlmeyer, Demery Little, Keagan Anthony, Celene Arelanno, Nick Buenger and Gia Cole. In the second row are Tess LaFrenier, Danielle Norton, Gabby Bouska, Marissa Hanson, Matt Dietz and Derek Bethel. Not shown are Levi Cole, Alex Kreter, Liz Hizey, Jessica Carr, Jessi Peterson and Isaiah Redalen.  PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
The cast of Chatfield High School's spring drama productions rehearsed at Potter Auditorium recently. The students will perform three short plays on May 17 and 18. Lying in front is Kayla Nelson. In the first row, from left, are Kalli Kohlmeyer, Demery Little, Keagan Anthony, Celene Arelanno, Nick Buenger and Gia Cole. In the second row are Tess LaFrenier, Danielle Norton, Gabby Bouska, Marissa Hanson, Matt Dietz and Derek Bethel. Not shown are Levi Cole, Alex Kreter, Liz Hizey, Jessica Carr, Jessi Peterson and Isaiah Redalen. PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Go down the urban rabbit hole, approach Lavendar and say "'night, Mother."

It's dramatic and staged, but altogether play.

"We are doing three short plays - 'Alice in Wonderland: Urban Edition,' 'Night, Mother,' and 'Approaching Lavendar'," said Chatfield High School's spring play director, Rachel Schieffelbein.

She has been directing the casts of the trio of short plays as they rehearse for their upcoming performances that will captivate audiences. The students will take the stage in a few weeks, on May 17 and 18, and showcase talents that amaze their director.

"Alice in Wonderland: Urban Edition" brings the tenets of Lewis Carroll's original tale to the city, giving it a bit of grunge and its heroine some more spunk. "'Alice in Wonderland: Urban Edition is pretty much what it sounds like - our favorite Wonderland characters in a modern, urban setting," Schieffelbein added.

"Night, Mother" tells of a young man, Jesse, and his mother, and how he methodically prepares to commit suicide. Schieffelbein explained that the drama originally was written as a mother-daughter drama, but a son replaces the daughter in the Chatfield production. "It's a heartbreaking play about suicide and mother-child relationships," she added.

"Approaching Lavendar" brings together three young ladies whose parents are about to become spouses, much to the father's daughters' dismay because their new sister is all too blithe about the occasion. The girls are waiting as their father gets married for the fourth time. It is both dramatic and humorous.

Schieffelbein explained that she chose the plays for the Chatfield High School spring stage triptych because each one provides an opportunity for the drama students to shine. "We have so many talented dramatic actors and actresses that I really wanted to give them a chance to show their stuff," she added. "However, I didn't want to skip on the humor, either, so we have one comedy, one drama, and one that has both comedy and drama. These kids have a wide range of talent, and with these plays, they'll be able to show some of that range."

This is the first time Schieffelbein has directed a drama for the spring play, as the choice of plays is typically a comedy. However, she feels that the students who have joined the cast are capable of conveying emotion beyond a comedy's reaches.

"I think it will be very interesting for people to get a chance to see these kids perform some drama," she added. "It's a huge strength of theirs, something they shine at in speech but they don't get to show often on stage. I think people will be very impressed with these kids' talent."

The cast includes Kayla Nelson, Tess LaFrenier, Levi Cole, Danielle Norton, Marissa Hanson, Derek Bethel, Nick Buenger, Matt Dietz, Keagan Anthony, Gabby Bouska, Jessi Peterson, Demery Little, Jessica Carr, Gia Cole, Kalli Kohlmeyer, Celene Arellano, Isaiah Redalen, Alex Kreter and Liz Hisey.

Since the students are presenting a collection of one-act and expedited plays, they've been rehearsing lines and studying their characters carefully and diligently.

"The 'Alice in Wonderland' play is very high energy, and we're working on keeping things moving at a fairly brisk pace which can be difficult when we also have to constantly change the set," Shieffelbein noted. "But it's fun, and it's going to be very cool once they get it all down."

Staging three shows in one evening means that the sets must be fairly simple, but Schieffelbein anticipates costuming her actors and actresses to balance out the scenes. She stressed that "Alice in Wonderland" in particular will afford some delightfully quirky costuming.

"'Alice in Wonderland' will make for some fun costuming," she explained. "The girl playing Alice, Tess LaFrenier, is quite stylish herself, and I'm looking forward to coming up with an 'urban Alice' costume with her."

Schieffelbein hopes that audiences are as engaged by the students' enthusiasm for theater as she is.

"I love watching them perform. I love watching them grow as they learn their part and turn their character into a real person," she expanded. "They are enjoying the silliness of 'Alice in Wonderland: Urban Edition.' It's a fun play with a lot of very interesting characters, and they are enjoying being able to really play them up. I think the kids involved in the dramas are enjoying being able to show off their abilities on the big stage."

She added, "I'm excited to show people what great dramatic actors we have in Chatfield. There are quite a few kids in the 'Alice in Wonderland' play who have to perform more than one role, and they do a great job of changing it up and becoming someone else."

The director offered an opportunity for children to attend only the G-rated performance of "Alice in Wonderland" and for adults to take in the seriousness of the dramas.

"We will be performing 'Alice in Wonderland: Urban Edition' first, then we'll have intermission. 'Alice' is a very kid-friendly play, but if you do bring a younger child, I would probably leave after that," Schieffelbein cautioned. "The dramas are rather intense. It won't be dull! The audience can expect to laugh and cry. We're going to keep them on their toes."

Finally, she commended her cast one more time. "This is a wonderful group of hardworking students. They are so talented and so much fun to work with."

The Chatfield High School thespians will present their spring plays at Potter Auditorium on Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $5 for adults and $3 for students.