BY NICOLE PEREZ, Staff Writer
Cumberland County College (CCC) will be presenting its spring semester show, Charlotte’s Web. This will be the second time that Charlotte’s Web has been performed at CCC. A smaller version was performed at the college and at some elementary schools in 2012. Professor Bradshaw will be directing the show this year.
Many may be familiar with the children’s book by E.B. White. For those who do not know Charlotte’s Web, it is about a pig named Wilbur who is worried about ending up as a part of a dinner plate by the end of the season.When he was born, a farmer was going to kill him but his daughter, Fern, begs for him to spare the little piggy. Wilbur is then given to another farmer. Wilbur makes a new friend, a spider named Charlotte who helps him ensure that he does not end up being eaten. Charlotte begins to write nice things on her web about Wilbur to make her owner see that he was special. The first thing she writes in her web was “Some Pig” to help and save his life. Bradshaw says, “I have always loved the story of Charlotte’s Web and the lessons Charlotte provides as Wilbur’s mentor and friend. Charlotte asks for nothing in return for her loving and kind friendship. We all feel sad when Charlotte dies, however, she leaves her children to hatch and the idea that life will carry on…in a positive and sensitive way. I think the message of hope and that things will be ok, speaks to everyone through this story.”
Bradshaw’s theater class will be performing the classic tale and they are working very hard to deliver a great performance. Students rehearse two to three times a week in the evenings to allow for homework time. Besides rehearsals, there is some in class preparation. Rehearsals are conducted for about eight weeks and sets load three weeks prior to production to make sure all actors are safe. Students work together on characterization and blocking, as well as creating study guides for their young audiences. Balancing school and rehearsals along with their personal lives is challenging but rewarding.
The roles are cast just like they would be in a regular audition. Students must read “sides” or cuttings from the show and will be chosen for their fit role. Makeup and costumes take hours of planning and preparation. The stage makeup class is designing the makeup plots for all of the actors in the show. Chris Totora, Assistant Director, is designing the sets and works with students on necessary props. This production is going to have a fully mounted main stage, where as the first time it was performed it was smaller. This show gives performing students a chance to gain experience. Professor Bradshaw says, “The opportunity to perform is invaluable for an acting student.”
All of the time and hard work that the students put into the show make them a team. As Bradshaw shares, “Every show creates a theater family. It is a very special experience.” The class as a whole supports each other to create a wonderful storytelling experience for the audience. The new Charlotte’s Web will be performed on April 8 and 9 at 2pm in CCC’s Fine and Performing Arts Center’s theater. General admission will be $9 and field trip performances must be booked over the phone. Bradshaw reflects, “This is a charming, heartwarming story and just like Avenue Q, Wilbur character searches for his purpose and builds relationships like Charlotte has.”