By Sarah Wang
Arcadia High School’s award-winning Advanced Drama program is back and as sensational as ever with its fall production, the famous “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.” Adapted and directed by Whitney LaBarge and produced by Steven Volpe, the play is the first performance of the high school season.
The beloved Roald Dahl adaptation follows the sugary adventures of a young Charlie Bucket (senior Brady Stubbs) and his grandfather (senior Marco Duchetta) as they explore the whimsical chocolate factory of the eccentric Willy Wonka (senior Joe Ganley) with a select group of contest winners: Veruca Salt (senior Pourobee Saha), Violet Beauregarde (senior Dominique Stellern), Augustus Gloop (junior Michael Keleshian) and Mike Teavee (senior Alex Zhou). Viewers can expect to recognize many aspects of the play, as the adaptation sticks remarkably close to the original, taking scenes from both Dahl’s novel and the 2005 blockbuster film, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Though publicity for the production has just begun, the drama program has been preparing since mid-August, before the school year had even begun. “We go in before production season begins and we audition for roles in order of personal preference,” second-year member, senior Noel Shil explains, “and those who are selected receive a callback and those who did not become a part of the ensemble.”
In the months leading up to the show, Stagecraft members also work hard to create the incredibly complex props and sets used throughout the play. In fact, almost all the props and sets are designed and crafted by the students themselves, aside from contributions from a professional set designer. Even as sets are being crafted, intense rehearsals go on throughout the week both in class and after school. “Rehearsals are good and bad,” first-year member, senior Arlene Kwo muses, “you have to spend such long hours after school practicing, despite heavy workloads from other classes, but at the same time, you get to bond and get closer with all the friends you make in drama and our two incredible directors.” In addition to set creation and rehearsal, Kwo adds “we are all also involved in advertising, publicity, costume design, tech and stagecraft,” allowing the students to receive a well-rounded theatre experience.
In comparison to previous years’ productions, which are usually more dramatic and less mainstream, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is a playful respite from the realities of life. The play is a light-hearted and kid-friendly classic for families and friends of all ages to enjoy. Though the plot may be of no surprise to the audience, Arcadia Stage has added its own unique twist to the tale – “the squirrel room” in particular, teases Kwo.
Tickets are available on EventBrite for $10 for seniors and students, $15 for adults, and $30 for VIP. Don’t miss Arcadia Stage’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” this Nov. 15, 16, and 17 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center.