Acting upon its own mission statement, which calls for the involvement of a wide spectrum of the community in age, background and interest, Vermillion Community Theatre is about to embark upon its second production of the summer.
Whereas the Broadway musical My Fair Lady earlier this month provided acting and crew opportunities to primarily adults both old and young the seasons second show,
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, embraces a literal stage full of youngsters some of them very young, others from the elementary and middle school ranks as well as a scattered few young adults to keep stage chaos, for the most part, under control.
Erin Conlon and Mecia Graham, a pair of VCT veterans, are co-directing the play, adapted from the children's fantasy written by Roald Dahl, which tells the tale of young Charlie Bucket inside the factory of chocolatier Willy Wonka.
Charlie will be performed at the VHS Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5-6, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7. As in the case of all VCT shows, tickets are available at Davis Pharmacy and Nook 'n Cranny as well as at the theater door.
To grasp the gist of the story right from the start, the audience will depend upon the four narrators Grace Kjelden, Mia Johns, Briseis Schnack and Morgan Graham who explain the adventure from start to finish. They will point out that Wonka, played by VHS drama veteran Joe Bob Geis, has closed his chocolate factory but that he reopened it for one day to the finders of five golden tickets hidden within the wrappings of his candy bars. The five youngsters will get a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate, and one will win an even grander prize.
The last of the lucky tickets is found by Charlie Bucket, played by Ross Dahlhoff, who lives in poverty with his parents, portrayed by Randy LaMie and Hope Knedler, and his grandparents, Katrina Heles, Noah Gilbertson, Lauren Bern and Austin McQuistan.
One of the other four golden ticketholders is Augustus Gloop (Will Getzin), an excessive eater. His mother is played by Rachel Axtell.
Another is spoiled brat Veruca Salt (Morgan Swanson), who is joined in the cast by her parents, Sam Pearson and Ellen Hanson.
Bubblegum champion Violet Beauregarde is Anna Hackemer. Leah Geis plays her mother.
The final golden ticketholder is Mike Teavee (Daniel Fuller), a TV fanatic, whose parents are played by Nathan Ford and Alicia Nelson.
The chocolate factory is full of strange rooms a research room where complex machines design new forms of candy, a nut-sorting room where trained squirrels sort good nuts from bad, a TV studio which can transport a giant chocolate bar into one's home, and a chocolate-mixing room with a chocolate lake in the middle. Accidents happen to the ticketholders as Willie Wonka gives them the factory tour. So who among the five wins the grand prize? That's not for us to say!
The chocolate factory's staff is composed of small people called Oompa-Loompas. Cast in these various roles and costumed in wild and wacky attire from sunglasses on their heads to exotic socks on their feet are Marley Hanson, Kourtney Seibel, Morgan Fuller, Peyton Swanson, Abby Howe, Maggie Peterson, Shelby Brady, Rebecca Ford, Madyson Gilbertson, Wyatt Waage, Ryan Howe, Tim Sereda, Brennan Stone, Jack Fuller, Max Braunstein, Josh Bern, Bodhi Brady, Christopher Nelson, Jackson Graham, Sebastian Sereda, Tavian Schnack, Abby Burbach, Emma Dahlhoff, Kayla Andersen, Annika Holdhusen, Ella Wittmuss, Clare Dahlhoff, Bridget Hulac, Loxi Schnack, Melanie Vogel, Susanna Ford, Sarah Hulac, Kelsey Johannsen, Dawn Swanson, and Carolyn Nelson.