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Examiner
  • Young actors bring classic 'Charlotte's Web' to Independence stage

  • Even the nearly 20 inches of snow dumped on Eastern Jackson County in the last week is not enough to keep Wilbur, Charlotte and Templeton from making their stage appearance this weekend.

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  • Even the nearly 20 inches of snow dumped on Eastern Jackson County in the last week is not enough to keep Wilbur, Charlotte and Templeton from making their stage appearance this weekend.
    “We have certainly had a shortage of rehearsals,” said Debbie Culver, director of the Children’s Performing Theatre’s production of "Charlotte’s Web." “But the kids have been practicing at home and are getting ready to go. They are showing up ready to perform, so we are excited.”
    “Charlotte’s Web” centers around a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with Charlotte, a barn spider. Based on the book by E.B. White, the play follows Wilbur’s adventures and relationships with the other farm animals. When Charlotte realizes that Wilbur is in danger, she begins writing messages in her webs that praise Wilbur in order to convince the farmer to keep Wilbur alive.
    The book is a children’s literature classic and has been adapted into several movie versions. The most recent was a live action film in 2006.
    “Charlotte’s Web” is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and March 8 and 9, as well as 2 p.m. Sunday and March 10. All performances are at the Sermon Center. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and $3 for children 12 and younger.
    Culver said she chose “Charlotte’s Web” because it is not only a favorite of hers, but also of her children.
    “I just love the relationship between Charlotte and Wilbur,” she said. “The book has always been one of my favorites. It also gave some of our kids the chance to take on some more challenging roles, which was a great opportunity.”
    So many children auditioned for the play that Culver had to double cast every role. Doing so gave the young actors a unique experience.
    “With the kids, we would have one on stage, while the other one was watching from the audience,” she said. “I think they really picked up a lot from that and improved their performances on stage.”
    Kaitlyn Turner, a student at John Nowlin Elementary School, plays one of the narrators. She said she thinks it’s fun to be on stage and has helped build her self confidence.
    “I love the idea of being someone totally different than who you are,” said the 10-year-old who is in her 10th production with the Children’s Performing Theatre. “I like this story because it has some funny parts and some sad parts. You have everything in this play, which makes it a lot of fun to watch.”
    Culver said the greatest benefit to the show’s cast is the self confidence that grows with each performance.
    “I see so many shy kids get on that stage and totally change,” she said. “You see a completely different side to the child. They just bloom right in front of you.”
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