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Diary of a High School Drama Tour to Scotland: Part 1

(Editor’s Note: As told by McLean High School student Julia Katz, the following is the first part of an exclusive News-Press series following the school’s theatre group to Edinburgh, Scotland.)

Toothbrush? Check. Camera? Check. Passport? Check. Clothes, clothes and more clothes? Check.mcleanHS

(Editor’s Note: As told by McLean High School student Julia Katz, the following is the first part of an exclusive News-Press series following the school’s theatre group to Edinburgh, Scotland.)

Toothbrush? Check. Camera? Check. Passport? Check. Clothes, clothes and more clothes? Check.

mcleanHS

MCLEAN HIGH SCHOOL theatre students perform Alice in Wonderland. (Photo: Courtesty Julia Katz)

These may seem like typical travel items needed for the usual summer getaway, but when the packing list includes scripts and outlandish costumes, one can sense this trip is something special.

Come down the rabbit hole with McLean High School’s cast of Alice in Wonderland as we prepare for our exciting journey to London and Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

It’s almost unbelievable that our small team of 16 students and seven chaperones have gotten to this point, where we’re worrying about suitcase room and sightseeing spots rather than frittering over finances and rehearsal schedules.

When McLean theatre director Denise Perrino first suggested going to the Fringe over a year ago, it seemed like an impossible dream. The American High School Theatre Festival is an organization that allows the best theatre students all across the country the chance to attend and perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world. The Fringe is an international tradition, one that dates back to 1947 and currently features over 30,000 performances every August.

The McLean Highlanders had to emerge as one of the top 60 schools from over 1,600 applications to be offered the opportunity to attend, and then the small troupe had to fundraise all year to relieve the estimated $5,500 cost per student.

But our hard work and struggles are all in the past now, as students and chaperones alike cheerfully and chaotically got ready for their journey.

“It’s been said that you can experience all four seasons in one day over in Scotland,” exclaimed Perrino. “So don’t just pack flip-flops and tank tops!”

We students were in a bit of a conundrum, where we could only pack one suitcase, yet needed a vast variety of clothing.

“I pack way too much for everything, and two weeks away with only one suitcase seems like torture,” jokes student Elaina Kaiser, who will appear as the White Rabbit in the production.

And with a full play remaining  the focal point of this trip, there are far more greater concerns  than clothing. The McLean group must figure out how to transport their sets, props and costumes without damaging or losing any items that are crucial to Alice in Wonderland’s success.

“I’m not sure how successful the transfer of the set will be,” explains parent Fred Mittleman, who will be a chaperone on the trip.

While measures have been taken by Perrino to safeguard the group’s belongings, like using collapsible boards for a set, the Highlanders will have to leave the rest up to chance.

Just like Alice, the hero of their play, the McLean Theatre Department is going from the ordinary world of suburban Virginia into an extraordinary, exotic place filled with color and magic. With their boarding passes at the ready, these students are about to take off on the journey of their young lives. Stay tuned.

 

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