TEXARKANA, Texas — Thursday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 22, Silvermoon Children's Theatre spins a marvelous tale with a production of "Charlotte's Web."
The children's play based on E.B. White's classic children's novel is back on after being canceled this past spring, says director Susannah Linnett.
Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, plus additional shows at both 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and again Sunday at 2 p.m. for six shows overall. There are two casts performing: a Ham Cast and a Bacon Cast.
Seating at the theater is limited, but viewers can also watch on streaming video. Performers won't wear masks on stage, but SCT asks the audience to wear masks.
"We auditioned back in March before everything happened. This was supposed to be in May, but we decided, OK, we started out with Zoom rehearsals at the beginning," Linnett said. At the end of summer, she said, with some relaxing of COVID-19 rules they decided to move forward but with many precautions.
"I think we've had four different times that kids had to quarantine, but we have not had any problem with kids that had been at rehearsal," Linnett said, noting they have roughly 15 children participating in the cast.
"It's a classic children's tale; it's one of the ones kids are made to read in in school. I remember reading it. and it's just a classic tale of friendship and unlikely friends. It's the life-or-death situation that animals go through, and how to overcome that — how to overcome fear," Linnett said.
The pig Wilbur must overcome something he never thought he would face. Ultimately, his friend Charlotte saves him from becoming a meal.
"It's a very big deal in his life, and then a spider comes along and decides she will help him and save his life," Linnett said. "It's a fast friendship that is odd, but she goes along to make wondrous things happen in her web."
On stage, a set of children play barnyard animals, then another group play the humans. It's a theatrical predicament to get them to act a certain way at certain times.
"Figuring out how the animals act while the humans are around as opposed to how they act when it's just the animals, they have to be different," Linnett said. It's a fun challenge, as is working with a web on stage. It's fragile, so they have to be careful with it, even when they put things into the web.
"That's been fun," Linnett said, as they have to make the web practical and magical at the same time.
This is the second show of the 2020 season because SCT staged "James and the Giant Peach" before the pandemic started. They also performed an online show and held camps. SCT planned to announce the next season on Thursday of this week.
The director believes returning to the stage offers some sort of normalcy, but she said they've taken precautions and changed the typical ways they do things, such as temperature checking.
"They have been together, and we've asked the families to be very careful about where their kids are going so they are safer together," Linnett said.
(Tickets: $10 for in person or live streaming options. Get tickets at SilvermoonKids.com. For streaming, a link will be supplied to access the show. More info is available at the Silvermoon Children's Theatre page on Facebook. Silvermoon Children's Theatre is located at 217 W. Broad St.)