Writer: Riley Oliphant
- Performance Dates: May 26–28, June 2–4 and 8–10
- Times: 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on May 28, June 2, 4, 10 and 11
- Location: Pardoe Theatre, Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU
- Price: $6-12 (discounts for senior citizens, BYU students, groups and alumni)
- Tickets: Available in person at the BYU Ticket Office in the Harris Fine Arts Center or Marriott Center, by phone at 801-422-2981 or online at byuarts.com
BYU Arts presents a heartfelt adaptation of the family drama, Charlotte’s Web, a story of a pig and a spider, of growing up, of finding a place in the world and, ultimately, a story of facing the challenges of life through friendship and sacrifice that has inspired generations.
The Department of Theatre and Media Arts ends its 2015-16 theatre season with Joseph Robinette’s adaptation of E.B. White’s literary classic, Charlotte’s Web, opening on May 27 for a 13-show run in the Pardoe Theatre of the Harris Fine Arts Center.
Adapted from one of most popular American children’s book of all time, Charlotte’s Web tells the story of a girl with the ability to understand the language of animals, a gluttonous rat, an irresistible young pig and an extraordinary spider who works a miracle within the magic of her fragile web. Charged with retelling this classic children’s story, directors Bradley and Shawnda Moss wanted to focus on the aspects of friendship and connection.
"Wilbur does not have the courage or the intelligence to save himself," said Shawnda Moss. "He needs the characters of the story to see his goodness and do what they can to preserve his life. As these characters make sacrifices, Wilbur begins to define himself as someone who is worth saving."
In order to show the sacrifice often required by friendship, and the beauty of what it ultimately becomes, the two directors decided to give the spider’s home a unique twist—whenever Charlotte, played by Meagan Flinders, a Music Dance Theatre major and a junior from Littleton, Colo., is in her web, she will be supported on aerial silks.
Known for its aesthetic intricacy and requirement for a high degree of physical strength, aerial silks allow Flinders to mimic a spider’s movement by using suspended fabric and her own strength to wrap, suspend, fall, spiral and swing her body across the stage.
For this role, Flinders was trained to perform aerial acrobatics without the use of a safety harness and underwent extensive training that would quickly deplete her strength. However, despite the physical demands she experienced, she felt that this type of performance deepens the audience’s understanding of the connection between Charlotte and Wilbur.
"A lot of people focus on the word Charlotte creates for Wilbur, forgetting how hard Charlotte is working night after night," said Flinders. "In the play, it looks gorgeous and effortless, but even the basic moves are exhausting. It’s interesting to go through that journey with Charlotte because by the end of the play, she is worn out but we realize, through her sacrifice, the depth of her love."
Tickets are $12, with discounts available for students, alumni, employees and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased in person at the BYU Ticket Office in the Harris Fine Arts Center or Marriott Center, by phone at 801-422-2981 or online at byuarts.com.
Audience members are welcome to join BYU student "teaching artists" for a free Lunch and Learn workshop offered 90 minutes before the matinee performances. The activity will be an opportunity for all registered playgoers ages 8 and older to participate in learning activities inspired by the production and enjoy a free sack lunch. For more information or to register, visit arts.byu.edu.