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Spinning magic

South Boston News
Making magic to save young Wilbur’s life are lead cast members in Halifax County Little Theatre’s fall production of Charlotte’s Web are Jeremy Duffer, Kasey Rising (seated) Lorien Reeves (standing) and Laci Wilkins. Make plans to add some magic to your holidays. Charlotte’s Web opens Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Prizery. Tickets are available at http://www.hclt.org and http://www.prizery.com, the Halifax County Visitor’s Center, or by calling the Prizery box office at 434-572-8339, ext. 2.
SoVaNow.com / November 19, 2014
Many people remember the first time they experienced Charlotte’s Web. For some, they read it in school and fell in love.

Some may remember the animated movie from decades ago that is still a classic. Others may even remember the more recent live action movie.

However, Halifax County Little Theatre is hoping a new generation will become enchanted with the timeless story in its fall production of Charlotte’s Web, directed by Erin Thackston. Bringing to life the iconic characters of E.B. White’s beloved classic novel are Jeremy Duffer, Lorien Reeves, Kasey Rising, and Laci Wilkins.

Duffer and Reeves are veterans of the HCLT stage, but this is the first HCLT show for the leading ladies, Rising and Wilkins. They all work to make magic happen on the stage.

One character who is magical in his own reluctant way is Templeton, the barnyard rat. Even though Templeton is sarcastic, he helps Charlotte make magic in her web by fetching words for her. Jeremy Duffer plays the cantankerous rat, though he feels his personality is very different from Templeton’s. Duffer, who works at Domino’s Pizza, has appeared in HCLT’s The Adventure of Tom Sawyer, How I Became a Pirate, The Man Who Saved Christmas, and The Complete World of Sports (Abridged). Unlike Templeton, Duffer’s experience with Charlotte’s Web has been a positive one.

“It’s been fun,” Duffer speaks of rehearsals, “although it’s a little different, especially since there is no singing.” His favorite part of the show has been seeing the characters come to life, adding to the magic of the show.

Newcomer Laci Wilkins plays a character with a personality very similar to her own, Fern Arable. Fern is the spunky girl who loves Wilbur enough to save him from becoming bacon and witnesses some magic in the barnyard with the other animals.

Wilkins is a student a Cluster Springs Elementary School and this is her very first time on stage, although it’s been a memorable experience for her.

“The rehearsals have been good; I learned a lot,” says Wilkins. The most fun part of the show for Wilkins is getting to meet new friends, one of the most endearing themes of the show.

Wilbur the pig is one part of the magical friendship portrayed in the show. Playing Zuckerman’s famous pig is Lorien Reeves. Reeves has appeared in HCLT’s productions of A Christmas Carol and How to Eat Like a Child, but this is her first lead role.

“I auditioned because Charlotte’s Web is my favorite book and movie, so I was excited when they were doing Charlotte’s Web,” said Reeves, “and Wilbur is a fun character to play, and I have always wanted a main role.”

Reeves said she she is very similar to her character because she is a vegetarian, and “I wouldn’t want to be killed!” The acting bug has bitten Reeves, and she can’t wait to make more magic on stage.

The hero of the story who saves young Wilbur’s life is the mystical spider, Charlotte, played by Kasey Rising. This is Rising’s first show with HCLT, but she has an extensive background in theatre. Rising began her theatre career in college and was part of a professional company in South Boston.

“When I moved to Halifax to start 524, I found out about the Prizery. I was ecstatic both because of his existence and because of its professionalism,” Rising said.

“When Charlotte’s Web auditions came, I was incredibly happy that life had finally settled enough to get back to my first love. I am overjoyed to perform my first show on this stage as this sweet, warm role.”

Rising’s many past experiences include Alice in Wonderland and Over the River and Through the Woods.

In playing Charlotte, Rising hopes she does the character justice.

“As a child, I thought Charlotte was cold and mysterious, but as an adult, I recognize that she is noble and wise; these are attributes I pray to develop!”

Rising, as a theatre veteran, praises the rehearsal process of this production. “Charlotte’s Web hosts a large cast. This gives plenty of room for a wide variety of “character,” which produces laughing moments, and the kids are so cute!” says Rising.

“Charlotte’s Web” opens Friday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m., and continues that weekend on Saturday morning at 10 and Saturday night at 7:30. Then on Sunday afternoon, there will be a 3 matinee.

During Thanksgiving week, the show will run again on Friday night, Saturday morning and night and Sunday afternoon.

After the Saturday morning show on Nov. 29, there is a special lunch that audience members can attend for only $5, and Wilbur, Charlotte and the barnyard critters will have lunch with them and pose for pictures with the audience members.

Tickets are currently on sale at The Prizery at 572-8339 (press 2 for Box Office), at the Visitor Center or online at http://www.prizery.com or http://www.hclt.org.

There is still time to purchase season tickets, and season brochures can be found at The Prizery, both public libraries and the Visitor Center.

Add some magic to your holidays this year by seeing Charlotte’s Web! Take it from “Charlotte” aka Kasey: “Any chance to see a loved storybook come to life should be taken!”


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