This month, E.B. White’s classic children’s book Charlotte’s Web hits the stage at the Center for Puppetry Arts. A celebration of compassion, friendship and ingenuity, this charming tale has captivated generations with its enduring story of the lengths to which friends will go to help each other. Adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette, Charlotte’s Web presents the adventures of that terrific pig Wilbur and his barnyard friends through the magic of puppetry.
The story begins one morning on Mr. Arable’s farm where the family awakes to find that a litter of pigs has been born during the night. Farmer Arable is pleased with the pigs, except for the runt of the litter, which he considers to be small and worthless. The farmer wants to kill the pig, but Mr. Arable’s daughter, Fern, protests. Fern rescues the runt and names him Wilbur. Fern cares for Wilbur until he grows bigger and must be moved to her Uncle Homer’s farm.
On Homer Zuckerman’s farm, Wilbur, young and innocent, is confused and scared by the other animals on the farm. Wilbur misses the Arable farm - especially Fern - until he befriends Charlotte, a gray spider who lives above his pen in the barn. Charlotte is wise and teaches Wilbur about true friendship. When Wilbur finds out that he is being fattened up to be slaughtered, Charlotte uses her amazing ability to weave words into her web above Wilbur’s pen. The words describe Wilbur as “Some Pig,” “Radiant” and “Terrific.” The miracle in Zuckerman’s barn attracts the attention of the press. The news spreads quickly throughout the community about “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig.”
With Charlotte’s help, Wilbur becomes a celebrity and is saved from the slaughterhouse. Soon afterward, the time comes for Charlotte to lay her egg sac. After she accomplishes this, Charlotte becomes weak and dies. Wilbur is greatly saddened, but pledges to care for the egg sac until the baby spiders hatch. As Charlotte’s children emerge from the egg sac, Wilbur begins to understand that life is ongoing and ever-changing and that friends are never forgotten.
“Charlotte’s Web is a classic story that shows the courage, love, and respect that true friendship can inspire. These characters are timeless, hilarious, and very real” comments director Michael Haverty.
Dressed in black from head to toe, the show’s five puppeteers remain in the shadows as they manipulate their puppets in the lighted playing areas, a technique called “Czech Black” puppetry as Czech Black technique as it originated in the Czech Republic of Central Europe. The puppets in this show are controlled by a mechanism in back of their heads that the puppeteers use to make the characters turn their heads, look up and down and focus on objects and other characters.
Families can have fun exploring their creativity, before or after the show, in the Create-A-Puppet Workshop, where they can create their own Wilbur Pig Hand Puppet; admission is included in the All-Inclusive ticket cost.
Charlotte’s Web opens on September 30 and will host special preview days on September 28 and 29 at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. each day. The show will run September 30 through October 31 at the following times:
· Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
· Saturday: 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
· Sunday: 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
To welcome fall weather and the opening weekend of Charlotte’s Web, Center for Puppetry Arts will be transformed into a fun-filled fairground, with activities and entertainment for all. On Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3, guests are invited to don their best costumes and enjoy FREE family-friendly amusement, while learning more about the world of puppetry. Visitors will have the opportunity to vote on a favorite puppet from the Center’s museum in the “Best of Show” competition. A blue ribbon will be awarded to the winning puppet, which will be announced on the Center’s Facebook fan page. Other entertainment will include a County Fair Photo Booth--complete with props like handlebar mustaches and a prize-winning apple pie-- and games with exciting prizes like free tickets, finger puppets and an autographed cast photo.
All-Inclusive Tickets for patrons two-years-old and older are $16.00 ($14.82 + tax) and include admission to the performance, Create-A-Puppet Workshop (or Create-A-Puppet To-Go Kit), and all museum exhibits. Membership and group rates are available. ORDER TICKETS ONLINE AT WWW.PUPPET.ORG OR CALL THE TICKET SALES OFFICE AT: 404-873-3391.
Charlotte’s Web is produced by special arrangement with DRAMATIC PUBLISHING, Woodstock, Illinois.
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