Celena Tasabia, 19, is the person underneath the thick hair of "Alice and Wonderland's" zany character, the Cheshire Cat.
In the Lodi performance by Changing Places Theater company, the local college student helps guide Alice through the crazy journey that has become a classic tale. The play is co-directed by Mike Bartram and Sabrina Willis.
Tasabia recently talked with News-Sentinel Lodi Living Editor Lauren Nelson about the play, her role and where she hopes to go on her own life journey.
Q: Describe your role, the Cheshire Cat.
A: It's way different than the Disney version. This version is much more tailored to children's theater. It's more of a friend and mentor to Alice.
Q: What kind of quirks does the Cheshire Cat have?
A: A lot of physical stuff and strange body movements.
Q: What kind of training did you have to undergo to perform the Cheshire Cat?
A: I've never had any dance or (voice) training. I can move my feet to music, and I just sort of use that. It's not intense ballet, but a lot of moving around and jumping and hopping.
Q: In 10 years, when you're done with school, where do you see yourself?
'Alice in Wonderland' at a glanceLocation: Jessie's Grove Winery, 1973 W. Turner Road in Lodi.
Dates: July 8, 9 and 10 and July 16, 17 and 18.
Tickets: $35 for dinner and show, with an option to buy show-only tickets for $20 for July 8 and 16 shows.
Information: 747-8043, www.changingfacestheater.org.
A: I'm thinking about joining the Peace Corps. I'm really interested in travel and culture. I hope to somehow wrap theater into travel and culture.
Q: Describe yourself in three words.
A: Odd, zany, superfluous.
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A: Sometimes I get way too serious. I get so overwhelmed by all my obligations and duties that I forget to have fun. It's not that I don't have any fun, but I take all the things I have to do very seriously.
Q: If you won the lottery today, describe your life six months from now?
A: I would have all my tuition paid for, I'd probably donate to Changing Faces, my church, non-profit organizations, organizations that aid third-world countries. I'd probably save a little bit to pay off my parents' mortgage and probably buy a house in some foreign country.
Q: Some people have bumper stickers on their car that reads, "I'd Rather Be Sailing." What would your bumper sticker read? "I'd Rather Be … "?
A: For the moment, I'd rather be sleeping. Working with Changing Faces, I've been putting so many hours into it and it gets tiring. Things are coming together now, and we're going to open on the 8th, so the stress levels are decreasing.
Q: Is this your stage debut?
A: No, I've done other (productions) for Delta. I did "Treasure Island," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "Talk Radio."
Q: What's something you're looking forward to this August, after "Alice in Wonderland" closes and before school starts?
A: I really want to have the time to laze around, watch movies, go to the beach and forget what time it is.
Q: Who should see "Alice in Wonderland"?
A: Everyone, from the tiniest little kids who are enchanted by the imaginative wonders of Wonderland to the older (crowd) who like to see their grandkids (play).
Q: What else do you want people to know?
A: Be sure to bring a picnic blanket, bug spray, sunblock (if you're here early) and be ready for a lot of fun.