HIGHLAND | Highland High School’s Theatre Department will bring Roald Dahl’s "James and the Giant Peach" to the stage for 7 p.m. performances Friday and Saturday, in the school's Monbeck Auditorium, 9135 Erie St.
Tickets are $5 and available at the door.
Theater teacher Molly Arroyo is the director and has approximately 30 students involved, onstage and backstage.
"Theater is magic," according to senior Mike Blejski, who admits to getting hooked on theater in eighth grade and plays The Narrator.
"Memorization has always been a challenge for me, and with three-page monologues, I have overcome this challenge."
Arroyo believes "James and the Giant Peach" is a perfect fit. "The Advanced Theater class has never done a full-length children’s production before, and I thought this would be a challenge for them. I have lots of 'characters' in the class and really felt I had the perfect cast to do it," Arroyo said.
"Students are learning to listen and respond in character, appreciating all of the responsibilities and demands on the director and cast in a play production, first time for many to tackle a show with both young children and adults as the primary audience," she added.
The most challenging part of the production, Arroyo said, "is the set building and tech (lighting and sound design, special effects) for this show. These are challenging for a small group. Also, trying to rehearse around the constraints of a performance space used by so many other school and outside groups is tough."
"James and the Giant Peach," written by the author of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and other children’s novels, tells the story of a young boy who has no choice but to live with his unsympathetic aunts after both his parents are trampled by a herd of angry rhinos.
One day, James and his aunts discover a giant peach growing in the yard. The story is about the adventures of James and the characters he meets who are living inside the peach.
Sophomore Kevin Colon has the lead role of James Trotter, and said he has learned "To never be afraid to express myself and be who I am," thanks to acting.
For junior Courtney Szymborski, the biggest challenge of playing Earthworm is "Behaving in a pessimistic manner, it’s much different than the optimistic nature I do have.
"Also, because I play a worm, I am not able to use my arms to react with so I must strictly use facial expressions which I’ve never had to do before," she said.