“Chin up, chin up. Everybody loves a happy face wear it,” said E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web. “Share it. It’ll brighten up the darkest place. Twinkle, sparkle, let a little sunshine in; you’ll be on the right side looking at the bright side up with your chinny chin, chin.”
A Charlotte’s Web production to bring a smile to the people of Rexburg, put together by BYU-Idaho students, was performed at the Romance Theater on Main Street on Sept. 27 to Sept. 29. Charlotte’s Web is a novel about a pig named Wilbur and his spider friend, Charlotte, who saves his life multiple times by using her webbing skills to create words describing Wilbur.
The production is run by a group of students known as the Upper Valley Theatre Arts Conservatory. James Beltran, a junior majoring in theatre studies, and his friend Riley Olsen, a freshman studying music, first created the theater company.
“We had a dream to put on more family-friendly plays for the community and more,” Beltran said. Olsen dreamed of starting the company and the two came together to get the company started.
Beltran said both he and Olsen paid out of their pockets in order to help the company with the supplies needed to get the company started with their shows. Olsen said they saved up their money and worked summer jobs in order for the production to take place. Olsen took the position of producing the shows while Beltran directs the productions. They found experienced friends to help with the designing for the show. The two have reached out to competitors in hopes they would assist them in starting the group.
“It’s worked out real well for us here, and the experience has been awesome for all involved,” Beltran said.
The cast varies from the ages 8 to the mid-20s. BYU-I students have taken the adult roles while the children play the younger characters. The cast has been preparing the show for months.
“Theater is a place you are needed,” said Molly Coupe, a junior majoring in theatre studies. “There is always a spot for you. It’s the community creating together.”
Coupe said they started rehearsing the production in June. They practiced four to five nights a week for about two or three hours each day.
Coupe said her role in the production is Edith Zuckerman and, after all the practices they have done together, the cast feels like a family.
“All are real talented,” Beltran said. “And the best part was seeing something everyone loves to do and have that common goal. We had road bumps but overall it has been worth it.”
Beltran said the group came together so the community can have more options of entertainment while providing opportunities for anyone, including BYU-I students, to gain experience doing what they love.
“There are a lot of good skills and social skills they can learn from this,” Olsen said.
Charlotte’s Web is the theater company’s very first show that they have put together and more are on the way.
The production was performed Sept. 27, Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. The theatre company plans on holding conservatory classes in February for those wanting to participate and will hold auditions for their next summer season this coming April.