Nevada Union students spin ‘Charlotte’s Web’ |

Nevada Union students spin ‘Charlotte’s Web’

The gentle piglet, kind-hearted arachnid and resourceful rat loved by generations of elementary school readers are coming to Nevada Union High School’s Black Box Theater starting Thursday.

NU students’ production of “Charlotte’s Web” – a stage adaptation of E.B. White’s classic novel – is the first time the department has staged a play geared toward children since “Annie” four years ago.

Through the play, farm animals band together in a campaign to save their friend, Wilbur the pig, from the butcher’s block. While the student actors are used to realism, the play calls for big movements and fanciful acting on a set decorated like the inside of a barn.

“At first, it was a challenge getting used to it,” said Rosy Warren, who is playing the old sheep in the upcoming show.

Student Leanne Convis came up with the costumes, which include Wilbur in a pair of drop-seat onesie pajamas and the old sheep using canes and reading glasses.

Senior Joe Cromer is taking the chair as the student director.

“We pride ourselves on students doing everything,” said Director Rob Metcalfe, who has taught theater at NU for six years.

While some have called the program the best theater company in the county, the biggest challenge is getting people into the seats for the first time, Metcalfe said.

“There’s a skewed image of what quality high school theater can be,” he said. “It takes a leap of faith to spend the money for it.”

They already have a few shows booked, though. Nevada County elementary school students are filling seats during morning performances next week.

“That’s what I’m waiting for – that’s where I’m going to see the biggest success,” Warren said.

Though children are the target audience, “Charlotte’s Web” appeals to whole families, she said.

“We hope it will be enjoyable for everyone. There are jokes the kids won’t get that everyone else will,” Warren said.

Performances are set for at 7 p.m. Thursday through Feb. 13 and Feb. 18 through 20, with additional matinees at 2 p.m. Feb. 13 and 20. Doors open half an hour before start time, and the play runs for about two hours.

Tickets for Thursday and matinee performances are $5; other performances are $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. To reserve tickets, call (530) 273-4431 ext. 1033.

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