The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Classic tale brings juvenile aura to stage

February 12, 2020 | Elyssa Gideon | reporter
NW Campus theater students rehearse the children’s book Charlotte’s Web in preparation for their performance at a local elementary school Feb. 15. Photo by Photos by Christian Garza/The Collegian

Theatre Northwest, as part of a production each spring for local elementary school students, will perform an adaptation of the classic children’s book  “Charlotte’s Web.”

Although the show is part of a field trip for these students, it will also be performed Feb. 28-29 for  TCC students, faculty and staff as well.

“We take our job of initiating the next generation of theatergoers very seriously and want them to be swept away by the magic of the theatre,” NW associate professor of drama Josh Blann said.

They hope to not only create future audience members but also future theater participants.

“I’m excited to perform for children who may have never seen any live theatre before,“ NW student Lane Norris said. “To give them the experience that I got when I was a kid and maybe impact their future to do some live theatre themselves.”

According to NW student Ashleigh Sommer, the kids are what make this type of performance special.

Charlotte’s Web ensemble gathers around Wilbur the pig, played by Kirsten Wagner, who is receiving a special award of a medal and $25 after losing the blue ribbon prize at the county fair. Photo by Photos by Christian Garza/The Collegian

“It’s an incredible honor to be able to show children such a colorful medium of storytelling,” Sommer said.

The cast and teacher agree that the book has themes for all ages, and this adaptation will be no different.

“Its theme of friendship and the gentle way it addresses mortality is timeless, and audiences young and old will enjoy the show,” Blann said.

Some of the cast were determined to play the role they received from the beginning. In a previous production in middle school, Norris really wanted to play Templeton the rat, so he “made it a goal to play him in this production.”

Some were inspired by the characters and knew they had to be cast as them.

“As soon as I learned we were putting on ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ I was hoping for the role, and it’s exactly what I had hoped it would be,” Sommer said. “I love her leadership and her empathy, her determination to help her friends. It’s inspiring.”

Performing as children’s book characters isn’t without its challenges.

“The most challenging thing about this [Wilbur] role is finding the same childhood innocence that we all once had and trying to recreate it in an honest way,” NW student Kirsten Wagner said.

The cast typically holds about 10 matinee performances during the school day for students aged 7-13. “Charlotte’s Web” is a classic piece of literature, and Blann said this performance is a great opportunity to bring a live version to the children.

For the two public performances and matinees, Sommer said everyone will be “seeing the result of us putting every ounce of energy into it to make it as fantastic as possible.”

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