Arts and Entertainment

Middle school production of 'Charlotte's Web' opens Friday

Friday Harbor Middle School
Friday Harbor Middle School's production of Charlotte's Web, opening Friday, features narration by a trio of spiders... of chorus.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

Halla Warner has had to stretch.

The characters she's played in the past have been a bit more "magical" in nature. As Fern Arable, the girl who saves a rambunctious little pig who becomes the toast of the town in E.B. White's classic children's tale, Charlotte's Web, Halla is learning to play it straight.

"It's more challenging to play someone who's real than something that's magical," she said. "I've never played a part like this. It's fun."

As Charlotte, the spider, Madeline Schroeder is looking for balance.

"You have to be aware of your body and your movements a lot," she said. "You try to portray being a spider without being too creepy."

Then there's Jordan Davis, who, like the two leading ladies mentioned above, is also an eighth-grader, has had little problem getting into his role, as Wilbur.

"It's pretty challenging in some parts, but it's fun," Jordan said. "Remembering all the lines is sort of hard, but it's pretty east to get into the character."

Beginning Friday, the Friday Harbor Middle School Players will put a spin of their own on playwright Joseph Robinette's stage adaptation of White's beloved children story, Charlotte's Web, with three back-to-back-to-back performances at San Juan Community Theatre. The show debuts Friday; curtain goes up at 7 p.m.

It's quite a cast and crew. About 25 in all. And quite a story, too, as you may recall.

A wise and worldly Charlotte befriends a precocious baby pig, and then saves his bacon from the frying pan by weaving words and phrases into a web she constructs right in Wilbur's pen. Words like "Some Pig" and "Radiant", and then, in a pivotal scene, at the county Fair, she decides "Humble" fits her new-found friend.

It would be her last. But we’ll leave it at that, for now.

Director Penelope Haskew, who a year ago guided SJCT’s Family Theater Produciton of both “Oh No! Granny’s Got the Remote” and “Stars Lore” makes a debut of her own in directing the middle school cast and crew. Haskew says the themes explored in Charlotte’s Web match well with the transitions middle schoolers grapple with in their day-to-day lives.

“Wilbur is like the typical geeky new kid in the class and his innocence is off-putting to the other more worldly animals,” she said. “Charlotte, however, finds him enduring, and in valuing him as a friend she makes it cool for other animals to treat him with respect and love too.”

The play’s performers have made an effort to venture out of their comfort zone to put a unique spine on the production, Haskew said. And she believes audiences are sure to be caught up in the web that they weave.

The Theatre’s business partners for Charlotte’s Web are Computer San Juans and M & W Auto. All tickets are $11. The SJCT box office is open Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more info, www.sjctheatre.org.

 

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