MCHS students bring sweet fantasy to life

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You won't need a golden ticket to attend the local high school production of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Any ticket to one of the three shows offered later this week should do.

Moffat County's High School drama class is producing the story of poor, young Charlie Bucket who earns a chance, after finding one of five prized golden tickets, to tour the mysterious Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory.

Once inside, Charlie and four other children are introduced to a fantasyland of chocolate rivers and lollipop trees.

Ignoring Willy Wonka's instructions, the four children meet their doom in a variety of ways as they become consumed by greed. Charlie, on the other hand, displaying patience throughout the tour, wins more than free chocolate for life but becomes owner of the chocolate factory.

Director Amy Coleman said she chose the play because it's easy for people to relate to and many people remember the popular children's story.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was written by Roald Dahl and made into a movie in 1971.

"It's fun to remember things from our childhood," Coleman said. "It's the whole idea of a chocolate factory and what it would be like to take a look inside."

Students have as been as busy as the story's Oompah-Loompah workers in the past two months transforming the high school stage into a sugary sweet set, with gigantic lollipops, a felt-brown chocolate river and oversized chocolate pretzels.

During the performance Oompah-Loompahs sing and dance in baggy tie-died costumes. The play's main characters travel through the chocolate factory maze, eating candy and getting caught up by the play's traps.

"I think they're having a lot of fun eating candy," Coleman said of the actors. "They're all about it."

The play marks senior Andy Bockelman's last performance in high school. Bockelman has performed in every school play over the last four years. The upcoming production has more new actors than any other play, he said.

"This is the kind of play that needs new blood," Bockelman said.

Bockelman appreciates the play's allegorical theme. He plays the role of Augustus Gloop, a young boy who can't stuff his face fast enough with chocolate and candy.

"It's something that everybody can understand," he said. "It's fun to watch."

Freshman Shasta Martinez is excited to act as one of play's 20 Oompah-Loompah workers. It's the first play she's acted in at the high school.

"This is one of my favorite stories," she said. "I got the part I wanted to be."

Martinez said her role as an Oomopah-Loompah requires more talking parts than the play's main characters, who follow Willy Wonka around the chocolate factory.

"There's a whole bunch of lines to remember," she said.

Coleman estimated students have worked a total of about 100 hours on the play. Students worked over the weekends to build sets and coordinate lighting. Parents helped pull together costumes and provide food for the dinnertime rehearsals.

Practicing for the play is a chance for students to work as a team without being competitive, Coleman said.

"They go through this laboring experience together," she said. "It definitely brings them together."

For Bockelman, acting in the play is almost second nature as he's watched the movie, "many, many times."

"It's a good last play to go out on," he said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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