by Donna Milani Luther, Head of School
In 2007 we hosted our first show featuring The Inly Players—Peter Pan. The year after was Annie, then came Oliver, then The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka, The Music Man, and Peter Pan (again). This year, The Inly Players will be putting on the school’s ninth production, and I’m thrilled to announce that it will be the light-hearted, timeless story of Alice in Wonderland.
This fast-paced stage adaptation is based on the Disney animated film but blends elements from both Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. From the beginning, it is a wild race down the rabbit hole, as Alice chases the White Rabbit and meets a delightful assortment of wonderfully wacky characters in the colorful world of Wonderland. Guided by a trio of Cheshire Cats and her own curiosity, Alice weaves her way through a maze of adventures and eventually beats the Queen of Hearts at her own game.
The Inly Players performances have become a hallmark for our school and we’re proud to say that no other school does anything quite like it. Because we include students from grade 3 and up, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and board members in the production, everyone comes together to work toward a common goal. The performance is truly children’s theater at its best, as the children in the audience are situated in the action, and teaches our students in the performance a great deal about the enrichment of individual and community and how they are inextricably linked. While each individual shines on the stage, the show demonstrates how we are all greater than the sum of our parts.
When our students are given the opportunity to stand up on stage in front of an audience, they become more and more comfortable in their own skin. This comfort translates to other areas of their lives – from public speaking to job interviews—and allows them to better answer the important question, “Who am I?” Acting lets our students PRETEND, which is something that can feel considerably less threatening than being themselves. They do not feel vulnerable or exposed. Being in character is freeing and inspires creativity, imagination and personal growth.
As Head of School, I play the role of “Director” every day. What I love about participating in The Inly Players’ performances is that I am no longer the Director but rather, a performer working alongside my fellow performers. The students have the opportunity to watch me and other adults stumble through lines or struggle to sing a high note. I think this experience is very encouraging and educational. It shows them how hard work pays off and how the rewards are appreciated at any age.
The Inly Players is comprised of students, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, alumni, and even professional actors. Because of this wonderful integration, our performances have become a community builder. Adults and children alike spend time together outside of the classroom, learning dances, singing songs and reciting lines. All the shared time and effort that goes into each number results in a special camaraderie. Friendships are forged and strengthened while learning and engagement happens in a most joyous way.
This year, Alice in Wonderland promises to be another magical performance. Whether you’re a current parent, past parent, alumni, faculty member, or other member of the Inly community, I hope you will come enjoy a show on March 6, 7, and 8. Info can be found at www.inlyschool.org.