Kid-friendly show to hit campus stage

By Juan Ibarra/campus editor

A small boy, a cast of colorful bugs and one ginormous peach along with childlike fun and amazement is at the forefront of NW Campus’ next theatre production.

James and the Giant Peach is the upcoming play premiering March 2, and while most productions at TCC are for all ages, this new play will be geared more towards younger G-rated audiences.

While only two performances will be available to the public, buses will be bringing young children to NW Campus to watch the play.

The play stars a young boy named James who is forced to live with his mean aunts after his parents die. After discovering a grand peach, James meets some new friends and they go on an adventure.

NW student Lane Norris, who plays James, said playing the role of a child as a college student was one of the more challenging aspects of the part.

Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
Cast members use their whole body language to look curiously past Lane Norris who plays James in the play. Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

“I don’t look like a kid,” Norris said. “Since I’m doing this for kids. It’s like ‘I look like a college student.’ So, I think it’s matching the awe and amazement and wonder of children. It’s definitely the challenge of the role.”

Getting the children to believe the acting and maintaining that level of excitement is important, he said.

“This will be my first children’s show, which I’m really excited about because for some of these kids, it will be their first show,” NW student Danielle Nafziger said.

The best part about doing a children’s show is being able to leave the children with the impact that theater is an expression of being able to release things inside of them that might not be able to share on an everyday basis, she said.

For a few of the actors, this will be their first time playing a role in a children’s show. This allows them to experiment and have fun with the characters in ways that more serious subject matters wouldn’t allow the room for.

Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
The cast of James and the Giant Peach put on their performance faces while rehearsing for their debut show at Theatre Northwest. Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

“I’ve never done a children’s show before,” NW student Phil Shoemaker said. “I figured it would be a lot of fun. I chose to do a Scottish accent.”

Two of the antagonists of the play are Aunt Sponge played by Frank Yandall and Aunt Spiker played by Brian Johnson.

Playing similarly framed “evil” characters could lead to problems, but Yandall and Johnson believe they’re up to playing the parts uniquely.

“I’m a very outgoing person,” Yandall said. “So, I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself.”

With the two aunts being obnoxious and cruel to James, the characters can become copies of each other, but Johnson said he knows how to prevent that.

Being able to bounce off the other actor is very important. An actor can’t just go in and try to do their own thing because if they do that, they are not going to create any chemistry, he said.

NW student Tavin Bothel plays the narrator, which he said is equally as important as every other character.

Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
Tavin Bothel, who plays the narrator, recites his lines enthusiastically in character at rehearsal. Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

“Energy is where I shine,” Bothel said. “My worst fear is never being bad. It’s being boring. At least you can still laugh at bad.”

The role of the narrator is important to maintain the audience’s interest with a high-energy level, he said.

Admission is free for TCC students, faculty and staff and $3 for general admission.

James and the Giant Peach
7:00 p.m. March 2
2:00 p.m. March 3
Theatre Northwest