Join Mercer Players for a ‘captivating and diverse journey’ down the rabbit hole

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A woman holds an axe over a woman kneeling at a bench during a play rehearsal.
Ella Brumbelow (left) as Mrs. Talon and Madison Langton (right) as Alice in Mercer Theatre's Alice in Wonderland. Photo by Scot Mann.

This year, visit the power of transformation with theater and drama at your doorstep with Mercer Theatre’s mind-bending productions. The 2023-2024 Mercer Theatre season will go from childhood classics, to Victorian farce, to award-winning dramas and everything in between — and anyone in the Mercer or Macon community is invited to take part.

It’s a special season to enjoy theater either as an audience member or as part of a production, said Frani Rollins, associate professor.

“This season promises to be a captivating and diverse journey through the world of live performance as we explore reality through four very different scripts, through large and intimate casts and in two different performance venues: one being outside,” she said.

The season begins Sept. 21 with a free show presented especially for youth and families in Tattnall Square Park. The familiar story of Alice in Wonderland will receive an original adaptation by Professor Scot Mann. Alice will still fall down the rabbit hole and meet the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit, but this particular version will have a Victorian steampunk design for what Rollins calls a “whimsical and magical” effect. Reservations are not required, but you can reserve a free ticket.

“We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to experience the transformative power of live performance, and we are fortunate to be able to support this project as part of the Mercer Theatre season,” Rollins said. 

Junior Madison Langton, who plays Alice, said, “The added beauty of performing outdoors in Tattnall Square Park will allow the performance to reach a new level of insanity.”

Rollins added, “Being outdoors in conjunction with the more interactive nature of children’s theater encourages a sense of playfulness and connection with the entire experience that is often impossible in a more formal indoor setting.”

The season is bookended with a rabbit hole, too — Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire. This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama discusses the seriousness that follows the loss of a child and how a family decides to move on. In between is A Devine Kerfuffle, a new comedy by H. Russ Brown about famed actress Sarah Berndhardt, and Men on Boats, a gender-swapped “off-the-canyon-walls funny” (Variety) play by Jaclyn Backhaus about historic 1895 explorers. 

Rollins said this season audiences can expect, “laugher brought on by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, amazement as actors show their skills with a sword, tears as we follow a story of familial strife, and delight as we engage with history through unexpected eyes.”

Anyone, including those who are not theater majors and those outside of Mercer’s community, is allowed to take part in productions. To get involved with the Mercer Players, contact Rollins at rollins_f@mercer.edu

The full season is below:

  • Alice In Wonderland — Sept. 21-23 and Nov. 11: Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland reimagined, adapted and directed by Mercer Theatre’s Scot Mann. The familiar plot is set in a steampunk world where the Victorian era meets science fiction in design and through special effects. This family-friendly production will be presented for free in Tattnall Square Park.
  • A Devine Kerfuffle — Nov. 9-12 and 16-19: The year is 1895, and Sarah Bernhardt is the greatest actress to ever grace the Victorian stage — just ask her! The “Divine Sarah” fears, however, her once bright star may be fading with all the attention suddenly being lavished on a talented, younger rival. The stage is set for the ultimate showdown as the two dueling divas cross wits and blades in this farce by H. Russ Brown.
  • Men on Boats — February 15-18 and 22-25, 2024: Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men on Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.
  • Rabbit Hole — April 11-14 and 18-21, 2024: Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. Rabbit Hole charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.