Terrific. Radiant. Humble.
These are some of the words used to describe the protagonist of the beloved book “Charlotte’s Web.” They also describe the ETSU Theater Department’s performance of “Charlotte’s Web” which took place this week.
Sunday, April 9 was the first performance of the play which was adapted from E.B. White’s timeless classic by Joseph Robinette.
The play, which lasts just over an hour with no intermission, tells the story of a small pig named Wilbur and his friendships with several barn animals including a spider named Charlotte. Wilbur is danger of being turned into bacon so Charlotte and the other barn animals team up to save him from his fate in this heartwarming tale of friendship and sacrifice.
Many of the audience members spoke highly of the play at the end of the night. James Maines, an ETSU student, praised the use of aerial dance elements within the show.
“I actually really enjoyed this production, but my favorite part was the way they used aerial dance to simulate the spider’s web,” said Maines.
The aerial elements were performed by Jessica Vest, “Charlotte,” who has been training in aerial dance for many years. According to Whitney Bates, who played “Templeton” in the production, Vest is highly skilled as an aerial performer.
“Jessica did a great job incorporating stylized, dance-like movement and aerial dance into this production which comes at no surprise because she has been training in aerial dance for years,” said Bates.
In addition to the silk fabric hanging from the ceiling which was used for the aerial elements, the set featured a 20 foot metal web which Vest, as Charlotte, perched on throughout the performance.
Aside from these elements, audiences were also impressed with the use of unconventional sound effects. According to Holly O’Brien, this was one of her favorite elements of the show.
“I really like the way the sound effects were all produced on stage by the cast, especially the sounds of rain and birds which the actors performed,” O’Brien said.
As musical accompaniment, the show featured a single performer who alternated between the banjo, the violin and the guitar to provide live, Old Time music for the show.
The final performance will be held on Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Bud Frank Theater. Tickets and information about future shows can be found at www.etsu.edu/cas/comm_perform/theatre/boxoffice.php.