Rex Putnam puts spin on 'Charlotte's Web'
The Rex Putnam High School Theater Arts Department will give the holiday season an early boost with the production of "Charlotte's Web," Dec. 7, 8 and 9.
Director and RPHS drama instructor Kelley Marchant said she chose the play, based on E. B. White's beloved children's tale, for its "message of friendship, loyalty and caring for each other."
She added, "In our current political climate, I think we need to spread this message more than ever."
Marchant said this would be the first children's show she has directed in her 10 years at RPHS.
"Usually they're directed by pairs of seniors, but with a guest director for the fall show, it gave me an opportunity to get in on the fun. Working on a children's show for the first time since I've been at Putnam has been a lot of fun," she said. "The bigger characters, sets and telling a wonderful story are making it a joy."
Wilbur and friends
The well-known story is brought to life in the hourlong play, "which finds the young farm pig, Wilbur, attempting to avoid a dire fate," Marchant said.
"Of all the barnyard creatures, Wilbur's staunchest ally is Charlotte, a thoughtful spider who devises an intriguing plan to keep the gentle little swine out of the slaughterhouse," she said. "Although Charlotte's efforts, which involve words written in her delicate web seem farfetched, they may just work.
"This is such a classic story and one that almost every child has read in the past and loved. Bringing these characters to life and being able to share it with many of our elementary and middle school students in the district is an exciting prospect," she said.
The play will be a special production in regard to elementary schoolchildren, as Marchant has cast youngsters in some of the roles.
"We have nine younger students in the cast; four of them are the daughters of our own faculty members," she said.
"The energy they bring is fantastic, and I think our students are having a really good time working with them."
Over 1,900 students will see the show in four school matinees held this week.
The technical challenges have been a bit overwhelming, Marchant said, and putting the show on with only four short weeks of rehearsal, with Thanksgiving in between, has been a challenge.
"But all of the students involved have really stepped up, and I'm so proud of the work that we're doing. I hope our community comes out to support our public performances on Dec. 7 to 9. We'd love to fill the house."
Marchant added, "This is a classic story brought to life and a great family outing for the holiday season."
The Rex Putnam High School Theatre Arts Department presents "Charlotte's Web"
When: 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 7-8, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9
Where: Rex Putnam High School, 4950 S.E. Roethe Road, Oak Grove
Tickets: Call 503-355-5870, ext. 38600