`I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth? How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think...' (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) '...but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand ... ?'
"Indeed it is my dear," Lady Mondegreen assures Alice,
releasing her gardener to guide Alice
through a busy week in Wonderland.
Dress rehearsals. A promotional street walk.
The Dale Hartley School of Speech and Drama challenges its Senior students with a musical extravaganza each year during the winter holidays. Dale Hartley-Brown writes and directs most of these shows but draws on her students' to teach, and to form her production team: over time she has created a talented pool of directors, tutors, choreographers, lighting and sound technicians, and stage crew. Teamed with equally talented actors, dancers and singers and given a traditional 1920s theatre to work their magic in, the Senior school seems to become more creative, daring and notable every year.
Memorable in Wonderland was Antony Kamstra's choreography; his own dancing matched only by Sammi Harnett's saucy Cheshire Cat and the burlesque pussy cat dancers. Add Logan Pocock's pantomime dame/Duchess to this mix and Rangiora has its own cabaret act! There were many other highlights of acting, singing, costume and set design but I cannot leave Alice out of the picture. How proud Elwin would have been of Bryony. How proud I am too, of her dedication, her professionalism, her powerful voice and her stamina...
Today a day of dreams achieved. For Bryony - in her final year as a student with the drama school - a leading lady role accomplished. For Dale the awareness that her dream to run a theatre school that would be dynamic and fun as well as profitable has come to pass. And for me the poignant realisation that after a lifetime of loving this wonderland (that you, Dear Reader, know as Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden), I have now owned it for one year to the day!