North Carroll drama students stage a sweet fantasy


January 24, 2001|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHILDREN WHO LOVE chocolate will enjoy the enigmatic antics of Willy Wonka, the fantastic candy mogul depicted in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," a children's play being performed by North Carroll High School Drama Club next week.

The well-known fantasy story by Roald Dahl has been rewritten for children's theater by Richard R. George. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at the school on Hampstead-Mexico Road. Tickets are $5.

The play extends into the audience, as the winners of tours through the magic chocolate factory rise from the seats. Four winners are played by Dan Burden as the comical Germanic Augustus Gloop; Laurel Dukehart as the vacuous Violet Beauregarde; Stephanie Meushaw as the wealthy and demanding Veruca Salt; and Jeff Hann as Mike Teavee, a child who lives in a world gleaned from television programs.

The final ticket is held by Charlie Bucket, played by Scott Taylor, whose sincerity is almost lost in the egocentric world of the other winners. Ryan Nelepa plays Willy Wonka, in a red top hat and carrying a cane he taps as an accent to the fantastic world of his candy factory.

"Oh, how I love that delicious smell," Wonka says before taking visitors to the "Chocolate Room, the nerve center of Wonka operations."

Tying the 11 scenes together is the narration of the wonderfully articulate Sara Myers, whose choreographed gestures might help young members of the audience understand her monologue.

Working in the factory are the Oompa-Loompas, tiny candy makers who take dancing breaks between scenes. These mute comrades are played by Darcie Robinson, Rachel Rhoten, Shannon Carl, Peter Brown-Whale, Bryan Womer and William Kolstedt.

"We'll have fantastic sets. Right now, we're using our imaginations," said student director Katie Murphy during a recent rehearsal. Assistant director is Wes Shockley and stage manager is Nick McCourt.

Imagination is rampant in this production. The audience is led to visualize a river of chocolate at the edge of the stage as Augustus Gloop licks the flowing sweet stuff. He falls off stage, and into the river, as his mother, played by Veronica Spears, chastises him in a comical German accent.

In the "TV Room," a televised chocolate delivery system enters the realm of science fiction. Television shrinks people so you can see them on the screen, so Teavee turns into a toy when he jumps into the television transmitter. His mother, played by Coralee Quinn, is miffed when her son walks out of Wonka's TV, shrunken to the size of a toy action figure, so she stuffs him into her handbag and leaves.

The Bucket family lives happily, although in poverty. Charlie's grandparents are played by Amy Barcroft, Tommy Beam, Stacey Elcik and Matt Peregoy, who as Grandpa Joe takes the chocolate factory tour with Charlie. Charlie's mother is played by Maggie Wunderlich. Other parents of children winning factory tours are played by Chris Grove and Josh Hunt. Understudies are Krystel Feeser and Eric Blum.

Information: 410-751-3450.

Blood donations sought

Several opportunities are being offered by the American Red Cross to donate blood in the North Carroll area.

Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment. The Red Cross has a mandatory 56-day wait between donations.

The Red Cross will accept donors at Manchester Community Activities Building, York Street, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.

A February drive will be held at Hampstead Fire Hall, 1341 Main St., from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 22.

Donations may be scheduled at Lazarus Church, 5101 S. Church St., Lineboro, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 10.

In Silver Run, donors can go to St. Mary's Lutheran Church, 3978 Littlestown Pike, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 15.

To schedule a donation, call the Carroll County chapter of the Red Cross at 800-448-3543.

Miles of reading

At Manchester Elementary School, pupils started the new year reading in earnest. Their goal is to read their way around the equator. Clever math converts minutes of reading into miles, and the children hope to clear 25,000 miles -- the distance around the world at the equator - before March 2.

Children are encouraged to read every night. Prizes will be given to children who reach reading goals, and to those who read the most in two months.

At the end of the reading marathon March 2, teachers will read to children and their families during a bedtime story night, complete with milk and cookies.

Teams need sponsors

Hampstead Lions Club is seeking sponsors from the community for baseball and softball teams.

Sponsorships cost $250, which includes cost of uniforms. In return, the sponsor's name appears on uniforms, and is placed on a parade banner and concession stand.

At the end of the season, sponsors receive a plaque thanking them for their community spirit.

Information: Rick Barraclough, 410-239-8462.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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