Actor goes down the rabbit hole

Published 12:04 am Thursday, August 23, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO/The Natchez Democrat — Taylor Spring sits in the Natchez Little Theatre makeup room while Morgan Mizell helps transform Spring into Alice for a psychedelic adaption of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Spring, 18, has been involved with NLT for three years and also played the lead role of Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden.”

NATCHEZ — After eating some colorful candy at a 1969 party at Andy Warhol’s New York City studio, Taylor Spring will follow a rushed white rabbit down the rabbit hole and find herself in Wonderland.

“I don’t think it’s exactly candy,” Spring said laughing. “Everything is very ’60s and not what you would expect.”

Spring, 18, took the stage Wednesday for the benefit performance of the Natchez Little Theatre’s psychedelic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

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And even though she’s played a lead role before as Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden,” Spring said the butterflies will still be flying in her stomach before each performance.

“I’m always nervous before a performance,” Spring said. “I just try to be more excited than nervous and that usually helps.

“I’ll also listen to the music of the play with my headphones in my room and go through each scene to get ready.”

That part of her back-stage ritual will be especially enjoyable for this performance, as Spring said the majority of the songs in the play were already on her iPod.

“I listen to all of the music that was in the play already, but I had (Layne Taylor) put in The Doors just for me,” Spring said. “I really like The Doors, and he didn’t have any of their music in the play, so I made him put that in there.”

But apart from the music, Spring said she wanted to audition for the role of Alice because of the characters moxie attitude.

“What I like about is Alice is she’s very strong-minded and if you make her mad, she’ll tell you she’s mad,” Spring said. “I’ve gotten to do a lot of things with this character that I normally wouldn’t get to do with other characters.

“I just love that I got to add a lot to the character and really make it my own.”

And even though she hasn’t read Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland,” Spring said she’s seen both Disney movie adaptations enough times to know the plot front to back.

“This play is based more on the book than the movies, but it’s still very different from both of them,” Spring said. “It’s been really fun and not like any other play I’ve been involved with.”

The performance is also helping Spring decide what she will study when she begins classes at Copiah-Lincoln Community College Natchez Campus next year.

“I took a break from performing, but now I’m getting back into it and want to continue performing,” Spring said. “I’m not sure what I want to study, but I definitely want to do something with music and theater.”

Spring said she has been involved with Natchez Little Theatre for three years and has participated in other performances like “A Natchez Christmas Carol,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Big River.”

Spring is the daughter of James and Angela.

The show opens tonight and will run at 7:30 p.m. through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday for a final matinee. Tickets are $15 for non-members of NLT.