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Charlotte's Web

"Charlotte's Web," presented by BHS, at 7 p.m., Nov. 14-16, at the PAC, 1025 S. Ortonville Road. Tickets are $5 at the door. Details: 248-627-1820.

November 06, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- Taylor Reid watched YouTube videos of spiders to study for her latest role as the title character in "Charlotte's Web."

"Her movements are a challenge," said Reid, 17, a Brandon High School senior starring in her fourth BHS production. "It's not as easy as playing a human."

Reid and a cast of about 28 BHS students will present "Charlotte's Web" on stage, with performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14, 15, and 16 at the BHS Performing Arts Center, 1025 S. Ortonville Road.

E.B. White's beloved classic children's novel is a tale of the friendship that develops as Charlotte attempts to save Wilbur, a pig, from becoming bacon. The spider does this through weaving messages in her web.

"You would think a spider is creepy, but she actually has good qualities and is very selfless," noted Reid. "Everyone judges so quickly, but her story is an example of why society shouldn't (judge) like that."

Reid's favorite part of the role is when Charlotte makes her first appearance on stage, with an aura of mystery. Wilbur, played by BHS sophomore Kevin Craghead, 16, asks Charlotte if she eats bugs and flies, to which Reid gets to say her most cherished line, "Actually, I drink their blood."

Craghead said it was not as difficult to portray a pig as one might imagine.

"I just like the character so much—I like how he's courageous, usually optimistic and dramatic, so that's fun," he said. "Audiences will like the overdramatic parts and the way he talks to other characters."

Wilbur does not speak when humans are in the barnyard or around at the fair, but Craghead notes that Fern, the little girl who first saves the runt of the litter from the slaughterhouse, understands him.

Fern is played by Miranda Cheers, a BHS junior, who read the book in elementary school.

"As a teen, you see everything wrong with the world, so it's nice to embody a little kid," she said. "I really love the underdog factor and feel it's important for kids to have someone they can root for that they can relate to. The play stays true to the book. I think the audience will love the animals and adults will appreciate the comic relief."

Jeff Malicke, director of the play, said it was a group effort choosing "Charlotte's Web" as this year's fall production. The students were excited at the suggestion of bringing the children's story to the stage, but then were concerned that it might be too young for high school students. After a brief hesitation, they regained their momentum and their enthusiasm and passion will shine through in the family-oriented production, Malicke believes.

"I hope what the audience likes is the students' portrayal of the animals, the message and the interaction between Charlotte and Wilbur," he said. "What I connect to with Charlotte is, she is who she is. She's not ashamed that she's a spider and eats flies and is brutal in Wilbur's eyes, but this friendship is created and ends up saving Wilbur's life… I hope the audience can relax and enjoy the evening and let us create this world for them."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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