Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket and other iconic characters of children's literature will come alive on stage at Tigard High School theater department's production of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" this weekend.
The play, a children's theater production written by Richard George, is based on the Roald Dahl book of the same title. It follows Charlie, a poor boy with a love for chocolate, as he tours an extravagant candy factory owned by the eccentric Willy Wonka.
"It's just such an iconic role," said Ben Caldwell, who plays Wonka. "There's so much room for fun in such a creative environment."
Caldwell said he's seen both film versions — the Gene Wilder classic, and the more recent remake starring Johnny Depp — but tried to find his own spin on Wonka.
"I tried my hardest not to copy them, but they both did an amazing job with it," he said. "It's a hard challenge, but it's fun to find different ways to go about the character."
The play will include many different sets, which rotate on an 18-foot platform. There is a special set designed for each of Charlie's fellow golden ticket winners, each of which reflect their personalities.
"The most fun part is really being able to see the set come to life," said Emily Rinehart, who plays the spoiled Veruca Salt. "The audience will be able to see who each kid is and how they react to their specific rooms."
Rinehart said she is looking forward to performing a children's theater show. It will be Tigard High's first children's theater production since it performed "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" two years ago.
"The kids just have an amazing imagination," she said. "I love being able to perform for them and be bigger than life."
The imaginations of adults and children alike will be activated as soon as they enter the lobby of Tigard High's auditorium. Hundreds of pieces of colorful candy hang from the ceiling, setting the mood for a whimsical production.
"I want (the audience) to be wowed when they first walk in, even before they see the show," said Lydia McLeod, the head of lobby design.
Because it is a children's theater production, there will be frequent interaction with the audience, and the characters will join watchers in the lobby when the play is over.
In addition to a revolving set, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" also will feature such technical feats as a glass elevator, a float down a chocolate river, and various pipes and shoots that the spoiled children will fall down.
Jacob Resnikoff, who plays Charlie, found it challenging to play a more reserved character when surrounded by eccentricity. But, he said, Charlie's ordinariness is at the core of the show's message.
"The point of the story is that extraordinary things can happen to un-extraordinary people," he said.
If you go
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 12;
2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13
Where: Tigard High School, 9000 S.W. Durham Road, Tigard
Tickets: Available at THSDrama.com for $8 plus a service fee.