Owen Dack (Templeton), Nix Lange (Charlotte) and Mike Ruff (Wilbur) rehearse a scene from Charlotte’s Web last week. Photo by Donna MacKenzie

A classic piece of children’s literature will be presented onstage this weekend when the Honeoye Falls-Lima High School Drama Club presents Charlotte’s Web on Friday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 11 at 2 p.m. at the HF-L High School Auditorium. Tickets are $7 adults and $5 for students.

Cast members are Claire Connors as Fern Arable, Owen Dack as John Arable and as Templeton, a rat, Maggie Grann as Martha Arable, Asher Curcio as Avery Arable, Kai Ferraro as Homer Zuckerman (Fern’s uncle), Paige Moscicki as Edith Zuckerman, Darianne Osso-Gomez as Lurvy (the Zuckerman’s hired hand), Mike Ruff as Wilbur the pig, Nix Lange as Charlotte, a spider, Aaron Campbell as Uncle the pig and as Gander, Teagan O’Connor as First Member, a narrator, and as Goose, Natalie McDonald as Second Member, a narrator, Kayla Donner as Third Member, a narrator, and Maeve Connors as The Old Sheep/Lamb.

A children’s novel by E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web was published in 1952 and tells the story of a barnyard spider named Charlotte who befriends a small piglet named Wilbur and helps him escape the prospect of being slaughtered by a farmer by weaving words in her web that describe Wilbur in positive terms which turn him into a tourist attraction and a prize winner at the county fair for the farmer who decides to let him live. The book was made into a movie in 1973 and again in 2006.

Charlotte’s Web marks Lange’s second fall drama show at HF-L. Lange says that the thing she likes about her character is her willingness to help.

“She could have just gone ‘Oh well, there goes another pig’,” Lange said during an interview last week prior to a rehearsal. “She could have moved on with her life and could have laid her eggs in the barn. But no, she decided to go to the fair and help Wilbur and risk her future and all 514 of her children’s future as well.”

While she plays a spider in this show, Lange is actually afraid of them.

“At my old elementary school, we read the book and that book is the reason I am terrified of spiders, which is ironic,” Lange said. ”That one scene in the book where the babies all go flying after they’re born, ever since then I have been terrified.”

Lange is one of just two seniors in the show. The other is Owen Dack who plays two roles: that of John Arable, the father of the little girl Fern Arable who persuades her father to let her keep Wilbur as a pet after he is born despite being the runt of the litter, and also Templeton, the rat in the barnyard.

“I’ve always liked the character of Templeton ever since I saw the show as a child,” Dack said during an interview prior to a rehearsal last week. “I saw the movie first, then read the book. The character is the embodiment of me – he is very lazy but hardworking when he gets motivated to. He tends to procrastinate. He loves to have fun, mess around with his friends and get into trouble. I feel it kind of embodies me.”

Dack has been involved in the theater program at HF-L throughout middle school and high school, along with being in productions with other theater organizations like Best Foot Forward. His favorite role, outside of Templeton, was Bambatois in Les Miserables which HF-L presented as its spring musical in 2022 when Dack was a sophomore. Dack says the best part of doing a fall drama show is probably the stress.

“I know that sounds kind of negative, but I really like having the time constraints and being able to make friends fast,” Dack said. “Because we have a short amount of time, we get to really hammer in our memorization skills, our acting skills and make good friendships along the way.”

For Lange, the favorite part of doing a drama show is watching it come to life.

“The first day we are all sitting around a table reading from a book and by the end the characters are onstage acting it out. The progression is really cool to participate in,” she said.

Artistic Director John Hennessey said the play is a change of pace from what the drana club has presented in the fall before.

“We’ve done comedies and dramas and we thought that doing a children’s theatre piece like Charlotte’s Web would be good for the kids to experience,” he said. “It’s a story they have all grown up with and bringing the characters to life on stage is another way of them introducing the story to younger children.”

©2024 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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