The Alley Cat Players and the Glass Mask

Juan Ramirez (JC) Delgadillo and Madeleine Van Slyke

There may be many Cinderella adaptations out there, but few have the chance to boast the presence of a potentially homicidal village idiot. 

This semester, the Alley Cat Players, LASA’s extracurricular theatre troupe, hosted a production of “A Cinderella Waltz.” The cast and crew worked on it for the majority of the first semester, and it was their first play of this school year. “A Cinderella Waltz” is about a girl named Rosey Snow who is trapped in a not-so-fantasyland with a cast of characters full of personality. This includes her stepsisters Goneril and Regan, her crazy stepmother, her oblivious father, a bewildered Prince, a fairy godmother who sings old sailor songs, a troll, and the aforementioned potentially homicidal village idiot.

Past productions hosted by the Alley Cat Players include “Marisol,” “Puffs,” “Ducks and Lovers,” and spring musicals such as “Sweenie Todd,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Rock of Ages.” Any LASA student can be a part of the plays, but many of the actors and theatre tech students also take the theatre elective. For sophomore Sydney Mims, this was her first year officially in person and working as a theatre tech crew member. With this being a new experience for her and others, it was interesting for her to see how everything went. 

“I did theatre tech last year, but it was on Zoom, so I guess being in person was weird for everyone,” Mims said. “However, it was really fun as well. When you’re all building something collectively and all working towards a goal in mind, it’s really satisfying when everything comes together in the end.” 

Junior Samantha Mason, who played Mother Magee in the show, said that she really enjoyed being back fully in person. One of her favorite parts of returning to in person productions is getting the chance to interact with fellow cast and crew members. 

“I participated in both shows we put up last year, ‘Ducks and Lovers’ and ‘Rock of Ages,’” Mason said. “Although I had such a great time working on both of the shows, being fully back for ‘Cinderella Waltz’ was very nice. Being able to have more time to rehearse and bond with company members outside of rehearsal really helped our performances.”

In order for the whole production to come together, it takes a lot of different parts of the theatre department, according to Mims. The cast and crew work together over the course of a month to come up with a show to be held at the Austin Performing Arts Center. The individual and group roles of the cast and crew work together to make everything come together, and it’s not just the actors and theatre techs that work on pieces of the play. Theatre classes also play a role, providing time to work on many of the props and set pieces, according to Mims. 

“I specifically built the stage and props,” Mims said. “Like for ‘Cinderella Waltz,’ my class was in charge of making the well, hog trough, decorating the house sets, and some other things. Basic scenery that is needed for the show to work. I know other tech kids also worked on lights and show production as a whole.” 

This was also the first production created at the new LASA campus. According to Mims, that came with some of its own challenges that had to be overcome.

When we first started, we were already two weeks behind because we had to clean out the theatre and organize the stuff that we brought over from LBJ,” Mims said. “So we were kinda working overtime, but I’m really proud—and a little surprised—that everything worked out well.”

With a variety of characters in the play, the actors would often have to find ways to both give the character its intended purpose in the play while also giving it a unique twist only the actor could pull off, according to junior Douglas Brito. Brito played Zed, the village “idiot,” and for his character, he decided to get inspiration from himself. 

“When thinking of characters, I try to get inspiration from deep inside me,” Brito said. “Characters are a way you can represent a little part of you, and so when thinking of my inspiration for Zed, I looked inside myself to the part of me that wasn’t afraid of how society viewed me.”

According to Mason, she did the opposite with approaching her role. Her character was very different from what she usually is. 

“I adored my character, Mother Magee, in the play,” Mason said. “She was so much fun to embody and interact with others. It was such a cool experience to play a character so different from myself. My performance was most notably inspired by Bernadette Peters as the Witch in ‘Into the Woods.’ Her portrayal’s zaniness and comedy was so helpful to base Magee off of.” 

The play’s success was a great start for the Alley Cat Players. Mason says it was a great personal experience as well. 

“I had an overall really positive experience during this show,” Mason said. “It was wonderful to be fully back in person with everyone, following our shows last year. Performing at the PAC was a cool experience too. My favorite part of doing theatre is absolutely the people. I’ve met some of my very best friends through these shows and this program.”

The next play is the musical “Beauty and the Beast,” which will be showing from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14.