‘Charlotte’s Web’ Was Chosen Because ‘It Is a Classic’
When the Brooke County Arts Council chose “Charlotte’s Web” as this season’s play for younger actors and audiences at the Brooke Hills Playhouse, Arts Council president Julia Barnhart of Wellsburg said a major .reason for the choice was that “It is a classic.”
The play, adapted by Joseph Robinette from the beloved story by E. B. White, will run for its final weekend with performances at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are available by calling or texting the Playhouse at 304-737-3344.
“Charlotte’s Web” is the funny and poignant story of the unlikely friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. This year marks the third time the Playhouse has presented the show, and the 10th anniversary of Barnhart’s involvement in the theater’s annual production for younger actors and audiences. Barnhart says she keeps doing the youth production “… because I enjoy working with the kids, and there’s never been a question for me about continuing to do it.”
The reward for Barnhart continues to be in working with children over the years. “I enjoy watching their progress as they get older,” she said. “The base group that I used to have is in college now, and many of them have continued to do theater,” she observed. “It is wonderful to watch all the children, and see how much they’ve changed and developed their craft over the years.”
Why present “Charlotte’s Web” again this year? Barnhart it was a matter of necessity. “We have had difficulty in the past finding quality children’s shows that worked for us,” she explained. “Besides, ‘Charlotte’s Web’ is beloved by both children and families.”
Barnhart believes that one reason for the show’s popularity with local audiences is that it requires an exercise in imagination by both actors and audiences, with its talking animals and costumes that suggest the animals without the necessity of making them technically accurate.
“The children and I discussed costumes and decided to keep them as ‘cool’ as possible,” Barnhart recalled. “I also talked to the parents and gave them my input before they the parents created the look for their children’s costumes,” she added. She also noted that parents were not permitted to attend rehearsals, and put their focus solely on the costumes.
After “Charlotte’s Web.” the Brooke Hills Playhouse’s 47th season will conclude Aug. 17-19 and Aug. 24-26 with “Farce of Habit,” Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten’s sequel to last summer’s popular Playhouse production of “Farce of Nature.” This time, Arkansas’ Reel ‘Em Inn is invaded by a group of nuns on a nature retreat, a severe storm and an axe murderer on the loose.
For all Playhouse productions, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Reservations for all performances are available by calling or texting the Playhouse at 304-737-3344.