Itâ€™s not easy organizing a cast of 30 children, especially when singing, dancing and oompa loompas are involved.
â€œItâ€™s pulling itself together at the last minute,â€ said Shanti Ammen, a third grade teacher.
Ammen and fellow teacher Jennifer Seiracki are the proud directors of â€œCharlie and the Chocolate Factoryâ€ starring third through fifth grade students.
The play will be performed Thursday night at S. Ray Lowder Elementary School. The performance begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $2 for adults, $1 for students and free for kids under 8.
All the performers are familiar with the classic book, which tells the tale of a group of children visiting a magical chocolate factory.
When the children are naughty, bad things happen to them. Some fall into chocolate rivers. Some turn into blueberries. After their demise, the oompa loompas sing a sad song.
The naughtiest of all the naughty children is Veruca Salt, a part that was coveted by nearly every girl in the play.
Gracie Turner, a fifth grade student, was very excited when she got the role.
â€œShe gets to be a brat, and I get to use an accent,â€ she said.
Even Katie Childers, who plays Willy Wonka, wanted to play Veruca Salt. Katie, however, is perfectly pleased with her lead role and enjoys her time on stage.
â€œYou get to be someone besides yourself,â€ she said.
John Finger, on the other hand, enjoys his character because of their similarities. While John is not a greedy boy, he does share a love of chocolate with Augustus Gloop.
â€œSometimes I like to eat anything, and my ancestors lived in Germany,â€ he said.
There are also children in the performance who play very responsible adults.
â€œIt makes me feel like Iâ€™m all grown up,â€ said Destiny Martinez, a fourth grade student who plays Mrs. Bucket, mother of Charlie.
Charlie is being played by Cory Cook, who was beside himself when he won the role.
â€œI was super excited,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s just one of my favorite movies.â€
It doesnâ€™t seem to take a lead role to get a student excited, however. The acting bug has bit a number of children, some of whom spent the summer at drama camp fine tuning their skills.
â€œThere are a few that are from our play last year, and theyâ€™ve really grown as actors,â€ said Seiracki.
As of now, the students arenâ€™t too nervous about their upcoming performance. In fact, many canâ€™t wait for their moment in the spotlight.
â€œI like to see all the people wanting to see me act,â€ said Fernando Soto, a third grade student.
Staff Writer Sarah Grano can be reached at 704-735-3031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Sarah Grano