April 29, 2017
I guess lot of people would say that Salt Spring Island is an ideal spot for an alternative school created for those young people (like many of their parents and neighbours) who do not fit in to the norms of mainstream society.
The following is a review I wrote on a play put on by Phoenix School students:
Gulf Islands Driftwood
Wednesday, November 24,1999
Phoenix’s Chocolate Factory offers tasty (nutritious?) treat
by Tanya Lester
Phoenix Elementary School students do not put on a play.
They experience it.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, held last Wednesday and Thursday, is the only performance I have been to at ArtSpring in which I looked forward to the intermission even though I was enjoying the show.
Who could resist the little green Oompa-Loompas (except my cynical 12-year-old son) or the red-and-black squirrels that hung out in the nut room?
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a theatrical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The plot was difficult to follow at times because the nervous, excited actors occasionally talked a bit fast and forgot their lines.
As told by the storyteller, played by Ezra Gilson in a deadpan style that reminded me of Charlie Brown, I think the storyline goes something like this: A girl (not Dahl’s male character) named Charlie Bucket (Halley Gilson) and her family, which consisted mostly of the cutest little grandparents you could ever lay your eyes on (played by Roshann Cornwall, Cora Muellner, Gabriella Mitchell and Kailee Budd), are so poor they are starving with only one bed to sleep in.
The solution to the Bucket family’s problems is connected with Charlie’s ability to obtain a golden bar that serves as an entrance key into the chocolate factory.
Charlie, of course, was not the only one wanting to gain entrance. Any number of wealthy folk with their spoiled kids desired an “in”` This menage was the most wonderful display of children in grown-up’s dress-up clothes that has ever graced the ArtSpring stage.
Patrice Bowler did a fine job of being a spoiled brat extraordinaire in her role as Veruca Salt, even to the point of laying down on the stage while she kicked her hands and feet. Bowler’s timing was great.
Elsbet Krayenhoff was also very appealing as a child gum fanatic.
The story continued with the group led in a tour of the factory by none other than the owner, Willie Wonka, played by Raven Derr. For part of the tour, the spectacular group rode in a very stylish pink sort of Viking boat.
The audience went along for the ride and we got a glimpse into a fantastic chocolate factory where the pipes looked like candysticks and a river of chocolate flowed.
There were many rooms where the delicious ingredients to the making of chocolate candy were housed. These included the cream room, the whip room and, of course, the chocolate room.
This leads me back to the intermission and ArtSpring’s multi-purpose room. It was there that the Phoenix Elementary School students had on display (as they did last spring for their Robin Hood play) and visual art they had created while exploring different aspects of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
What an experience it was to be drawn into their experience of the play!
A quilt with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory emblazoned across it and created by the sutdents hung near the entrance. On the walls were big, bold finger paintings of the play’s characters. The tables were laden with Placticine mounts of the sets and contraptions like the candy machines in the play’s set.
This is the way to learn and to grow. The most wonderful thing about it is that, as far as I could see, the students all had so much fun doing it.
The energy in ArtSpring was electrifying. There was something about it all that made me think of how young people throughout the century, and before, have always dressed up and staged plays for adults. Virginia Woolf would have approved.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a tasty pre-Christmas treat.
And, oh yes, Willie Wonka invited Charlie and her family to live in the chocolate factory, alleviating their starvation.
Could this mean that chocolate is nutritious, after all?
To read more posts in this extremely eclectic blog featured articles by and about Tanya, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com
Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew (both available for the author or from amazon.com) as well as Women Rights/Writes and Dreams and Tricksters. All of these books are in some library systems.
Tanya works at her passion: doing intuitive readings including tea leaf, tarot and mediumship enhanced by her practice of reiki and is a fulltime house sitter. Her website is at teareading.wordpress.com and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can text or call her at 250-538-0086, her cell phone.