The March Hare, STJ April 2017

There is no predicting how a Stage Time and Juice show will come together. We usually start by throwing around themes that have to do with the month. Alliteration is always a plus. Sometimes we will approach someone to do some sort of activity or performance within the show, and we will build around that. The theming is not always central to the event, but on the occasion where the separate participants coalesce around it, magic begins to take place.

Let’s not feign total innocence with the selection of last month’s theme of “The March Hare”: we knew that Ruth Landowne Giordano had staged the Reader’s Theater production of “A Mad Tea Party,” Chapter 7 from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland in the past. We had a sneaky feeling that if we dangled the title in front of her, she wouldn’t allow this opportunity to slide by. As it turns out, not only was Ruth game to revive it, but she wanted to update it with a twist: by incorporating some Juicers as readers. As she explained, “I think the addition of the children will make the production quite sweet.”

Once the decision of hosting a mad tea party had been set, we transformed the event into a British high tea by serving up scones made from KP Kitchen’s wonderful mix, decked out with clotted cream and jam. We also provided “Drink-Me” punch, a concoction whose recipe is known only to the alchemists of the Red Room. Unfortunately, the punch was a grand failure: none of the Juicers changed their shapes or sizes, although it may have had some contribution to transforming some of the guests into performers.

A few weeks before the event, we received a most unusual request: a mother was wondering whether she could hold a birthday party celebration at Juice. This gave us pause: we had never thought to combine our stage event with a private celebration. On the other hand, the temptation of holding a real birthday party within a staged tea party was too much of a temptation to resist. The Mad Hatter and the March Hare would have appreciated the flipping inside out of the situation. Once we had acquiesced, mom Nomita signed off with the curious remark: “I like this theme.”

Photo by Jean-Jacques Chen

It turns out she is an artist who sculpts in cake and fondant: she showed up with a remarkable stacked tower of a cake, covered with Alice in Wonderland motifs. It took her two days to shape and paint it. Needless to say, the Juicers demolished it in minutes. Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes with us: we know a good thing when we see it, and we consume it.

The show itself began with our open mic lineup. There were many first-time visitors on the stage, who tenuously shared poems and jokes. One boy performed a spectacular Indian dance, complete with cool dude sunglasses. Two siblings introduced a game, and invited audience members up on the stage to get slapped on the hand. Another sang a sad love ballad while she played the guitar. One girl played a musical piece on the keyboard.

Constance Woods tried to teach us how to dance the Pata-Pata in five minutes. Due to our failure to fully grasp the subtleties of her performance, she has agreed to return and get us all wash wiping and hopping in proper South African form in May.

The show ended with the performance of “A Mad Tea Party.” We were amazed at how polished the junior Juicers looked next to their talented R4 counterparts.

There is a link to the YouTube of the entire “A Mad Tea Party” performance and some footage and photos of this special event on our Stage Time and Juice Facebook page. Although it’s nice to look at pictures to try to understand what is going on, we heartily recommend that you to come to our events in person to experience for yourself the indescribable.

And that’s what you missed at Stage Time and Juice!

Carol Yao

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