Meredith College has once again fallen down the rabbit hole for the 25th time in the college’s history. Directed by Meredith’s own Vice President, Jean Jackson, the tradition was enjoyed by Meredith students of all class affiliations. For the first time in performance history, vouchers were distributed for Friday nights performance to students on a first come, first served basis, starting at 10 a.m. After that, the line at Jones Auditorium to get seats stretched past Johnson Hall. The anticipation of the once-in-a-college-generation event could be felt by every student standing in line. The play featured jokes on “Megxit,” satire of recent political events and numerous pop culture references. When talking with students in classes following the performance, many were astounded by the talent of their professors. Karen Flores of the class of 2023 enjoyed seeing our college’s own President Jo Allen participate in the fun; “I wasn't expecting to see her in the the role that she was in, but I loved all the jokes being made surrounding people losing their jobs if they beheaded her.” President Allen played the Cook.
Several students agreed that having faculty and staff who are willing to put on such an engaging and lighthearted performance really displays a labor of love to the students. Sara Davis of the class of 2023 spoke of her excitement before the performance: “the wait was definitely worth it; the seats were great, and the energy while waiting was unlike anything I've ever experienced. I definitely will be coming back to see it as an alumna, not only so I can see what it feels like knowing more professors but also to celebrate 100 years;” the next performance, in 2024, will be 100 years after 1924’s first show. Attendance at the performance was anticipated by all class years. Kelly Fox and Erin Jordan of the class of 2020 discussed their excitement in finally being able to experience this tradition after a four-year wait. “It seems like it means a little more when you have experienced almost your whole ride at Meredith.” The excitement for the performance extended beyond students; Kayla Quinn, the residence director of Vann and Stringfield Halls, compared the Alice in Wonderland production to Cornhuskin’, stating that it is the equivalent of Cornhuskin’ for the faculty and staff. With all of the late-night rehearsals, pop-culture references and timehonored traditions within the show, this effort spoke volumes to students. Dean Gleason, in her fifth Alice in Wonderland production, discussed being a seasoned veteran of the performance, describing how certain character choices are made and how much thought is put into the performance. “A lot of those [style choices] are different every year depending on what the popular songs are or what is going on with current news.” She also discussed the centennial celebration that is set to occur in 2024: according to Gleason, the “Dodo director” is already planning a big event to celebrate the momentous occasion.
Amber Sheely of the class of 1989 discussed some of the differences between her Alice in Wonderland play in 1988 and the one held on campus this January. For her, the most exciting part of Alice in Wonderland was seeing her professors in a different setting.
The stories of Meredith women past and present hold true to this exceptional time-honored tradition. Being able to see our beloved faculty perform in rhyme, speak utter nonsense and bust out to our favorite Lizzo self-love anthem reminded us all of the true magic of our Meredith College Wonderland.
By Rachel Van Horne, Staff Writer