If there is a child in your life who loves stories about animals, friendship, or life on a farm, get tickets now to a Saturday performance of StageOne's Charlotte's Web, running at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm Saturday, May 11 and 18.
Most adults know E.B. White's classic tale about Wilbur the "Terrific," "Radiant," and "Humble" pig who shakes up the barnyard and learns the true meaning of friendship through the selfless acts of the unlikeliest of friends: the spider Charlotte. Teachers still assign students to read this classic in school, and even non-readers might be familiar with the 2006 live-action film starring Dakota Fanning, so the plot will be easy to follow. Basically: girl saves pig, pig loves life, pig befriends spider, spider saves pig, pig learns that friendship—selflessness, love, sacrifice—is most important.
StageOne's version is aimed at children ages four and older. I took my daughter on her fourth birthday to try and gauge whether that age range was an accurate recommendation. The theater was packed full of schoolchildren—preschoolers through seven year-olds—and my daughter was definitely one of the youngest members of the audience. She sat still, captivated by the barnyard sets that swiftly changed into the county fair scenery, but by about the forty-minute mark, she was growing restless. Luckily, the play finished in under an hour, so even a newly-crowned four year-old could enjoy the entire show.
The anthropomorphic farm animals in Charlotte's Web are the perfect subject to introduce children to live theater. The familiar characteristics of pigs, geese, a sheep, a rat, and a spider are comforting to little ones, and the fact that the humans playing these characters get to dress up and speak like these farmyard friends makes it even more fun. Two weeks after seeing the play, my daughter is still laughing at Wilber’s (played by Seth Lieber) funny pig outfits and actions. Although seeing a grown man dressed in pink roll around in imaginary mud puddles might not elicit laughter from an adult, it's truly magical to sit next to a young theatergoer and experience the joy of live theater through his or her eyes. Make a date with your young ones—see Charlotte's Web this Saturday or next at 11:00 am or 2:00 pm.
Visit http://www.stageone.org/the-season/charlottes-web/ for more information or to buy tickets ($14.75 for all ages) to Charlotte's Web.
StageOne has released their lineup for the 2013-14 season: The House at Pooh Corner, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Glorious Adventures of the Mighty Robin Hood, and Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly. Visit http://www.stageone.org for more information.
Image: courtesy of StageOne's Facebook page