by Jessa Cunningham, dramaturg
E.B. White’s tale about a pig and a spider has lasted for generations. But why? In my opinion, it is because the beauty the lies within the simplicity of the story. There is no fanfare, just a straightforward story that warms the heart.
What impressed me the most with Shawnda and Bradley’s concept for the show was how they were able to capture this simplicity– yet it was still able to encapsulate White’s timeless tone. On the stage stands the basic construction of a barn, with a fence on the side and a few small crates scattered around. Nothing much, but it is just right to convey this special story of Wilbur and Charlotte.
For my lobby display, I wanted to convey a timeless barn that would introduce the audience into Wilbur’s world. The items chosen for the display are all of this classic farm ideal that I have had in my head since I was small. Good, old fashioned tools and items that Zuckerman could use or Wilbur would find in his home were the types of things I used.
I wanted audiences to already feel like they are at the farm before they even see the Zuckerman barn. These things are what I imagined Lurvy and Homer would use whenever they go about their general work on the farm–and things Wilbur would use as a scratching post! It’s simple, but that is what Charlotte’s Web is all about after all! When you walk into the lobby, explore the display! Immerse yourself in the different things that could be found on a farm. What types of things are included in the displays that you already knew could be seen on a farm? What are some items that surprised you? Could you see our beloved characters working with or living among these simple tools?