The Animals of Charlotte’s Web

The Theatre department at Concordia University of Wisconsin is presenting a children’s classic, “Charlotte’s Web”, that is challenging the actors on their characterization skills and abilities.

“Charlotte’s Web” is a play that contains mostly animal characters instead of human characters, which is different from most shows at Concordia.

Junior Erin Kline said this show is different because they took a different approach to playing animals than most would imagine.

” Instead of just acting out the animal, we are portraying our characters as humans with animal features”, Kline said.

Kline is  playing the role of the sheep in the production and said that she is playing a human with sheep features.

” Basically, I have to think about certain features of the sheep and then embody them. For example, I am not going to actually be on all fours like a sheep but I am going to walk and stand in a way that represents a sheep grazing, ” Kline said.

Madison Maria, playing the role of Templeton, has a particular way of characterizing her part.

“As Templeton, I have a certain posture and voice that I use to become my character. If I didn’t think of how I was going to more or speak as a rat, Templeton wouldn’t be as great of a character to the audience, ” Maria said.

The actors have to work harder in this show because of the animal characters in order to make it believable and enjoyable.

” For a children’s show, you need a lot of energy. Most of it goes into becoming your character, which is the biggest part of a show like this, since they are telling the story. Without energy, the children will not be entertained,” Maria said.

Director Veronica Zahn worked hard with the actors but also decided on all elements for their costuming in order to create the human-like animals.

“All the animal characters have ears, noses, and tails, but they are paired with human-like clothing : jeans, overalls, or skirts with button-down shirts, t-shirts, or blouses and one piece with an animal characteristic, like the sheep wearing a wool sweater,” Zahn said.

Zahn and the actors are excited to show the outcome of their dedication on Nov. 21-22 in the Todd Wehr auditorium.

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