DCD’s Class Play season has officially kicked off with the fourth grade’s unforgettable performance of The Alchemists’ Book– a timeless tale that illuminates the true responsibilities of power, and probes for the true cost of what we might deem “progress”.

Deep in the forests of an ancient kingdom, the woodlanders have begun to make their preparations for another impending winter, laying aside provisions to sustain them through their lonely duty. They alone can hold back the dread winter, but to do so they must shun the comforts of the village, enduring in their thankless work beyond the warmth of fire and light. Soon, however, young Maple Woodlander falls ill to the terrible purple berries, and her kin must seek the help of the magical and mysterious Alchemists.

But the woodlanders aren’t the only ones pursuing the Alchemists– the powerful Chancellors are soon to descend upon them as well. With all the might of the kingdom behind them, the Chancellors lack any real strength of will of their own, and seek to coerce the benevolent magicians into turning their healing powers toward destruction instead, through the creation of a new road that will pierce the heart of the village, and flatten the shop of the Alchemists beneath its bureaucratic weight. Refusing to use their magic to cause harm, the Alchemists determine to stand firm in their Dawesian resistance, and refuse the orders of the Chancellors, who withdraw to hatch an even more diabolical plot.

Meanwhile, on the edge of the village, a herd of hardworking cats stumbles upon the lost capes of the Alchemists, donning these disguises in the hopes of finding jobs that might lead to a more permanent home than the transient burrows they’ve known til now. Soon, they’re taken in by the Alchemists themselves, and the cats lend their aid in the tidying of the shop, throwing in a lesson or two about personal finance along the way.

But this lesson in self-improvement is soon shattered by the return of the Chancellors, who have descended upon the woodlanders like a terrible storm, capturing them and holding them for ransom until the Alchemists’ Spellbook is delivered. Unwilling to see the innocent forest dwellers come to harm, the Alchemists surrender their book.

Greedily grasping now this secret text pried from the fingers of the unknown, the promethean Chancellors cast a spell to make themselves rulers of the world. But in their arrogance, the spell backfires, and the Alchemists retrieve the book, and remove the Chancellors from power.

Into this vacuum of leadership step, at long last, those who have demonstrated, above all else, compassion, hard-work, and honesty: the cats, who graciously accept the mantles forsaken by the Chancellors.

Brought to vivacious life by the DCD’s fourth-grade class, this play would not have been possible without the writing and direction of Elisa Sidoli, costumes by Jane Rothwell, scenery by Sean Reardon, music by Valerie Snow and Maeve Lien, and the guidance and support of homeroom teachers Kelly Kennedy and Dan Miller.

Bravo to the fourth grade thespians, and here’s to the start of a wonderful season of plays!