The Music Makers, the Dreamers of Dreams

With energetic new directors, the Mechanicville High School Drama Club prepares a vibrant production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

By Eric Hilliker

The Mechanicville Drama Club cordially invites you to a world of pure imagination. Everybody’s favorite candy maker and his wondrous factory will be taking center stage as the club presents an adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

First time co-directors art teacher Katie Dollard, science teacher Nicole Marshilok, and a group of dedicated, enthusiastic students will breath life into Roald Dahl’s whimsical chocolateer. Over the past few weeks students have been diligently putting together the colorful, gumdrop spectacle.

“We have an amazing cast and crew of actors, actresses, prop masters, and backstage crew who are committed on so many levels,” said Dollard. “They came in during spring break to help paint the sets and build the scenery. Their commitment and passion really inspires me.”

One notable aspect of the students’ contributions comes from the engineering class, who have designed and built the sets from scratch. One side of the set is Charlie’s gray and gloomy home. Looks can be deceiving, as the stage will rotate showing off the other side. The dreary shanty will transform into Wonka’s factory filled with bright colors, cogs, and candy mushrooms. It is just one of the many aspects that shows off the hard work and dedication that the club has put into to bringing this beloved story to stage.

Nearly everyone is familiar with Charlie’s journey through the chocolate factory. Perhaps the most famous version of the story would be the 1971 film version starring Gene Wilder. The students were more than happy to tackle the classic.

“Nicole and I wanted to do something familiar and fun,” said Dollard. “A story that the whole family would know. We grew up with the Gene Wilder version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the drama club students were so excited when we told them we were thinking about that selection, so we went with it.”

Even though the play will follow the film fairly closely, there will be some changes. The bigger budget, special effect-heavy scenes were cut due to timing and not sharing the budget of a Johnny Depp/Tim Burton film. The film will also lack many of the song numbers of the film.

“Nicole and I didn’t want to do a musical for our first foray into directing, so doing one song is like dipping our toes without fully committing,” said Dollard.

Thankfully, the infamous, not to mention intolerable, rich girl will sing her greedy melody.

“We’ll only be doing one musical number,” said Dollard. “One of our fabulous actresses who is playing our Veruca Salt wanted to sing the ‘I Want It Now’ and I couldn’t say no to her.”

The play is shaping up to be a grand show and a great achievement for the drama club. Charlie, though, could be just the tip of the iceberg for the drama club and the arts in the school. Dollard hopes for a much more expanded and brighter arts program.

“I am so excited about this being my first time directing a play,” she said. “I was heavily involved in dance and drama club when I was in high school and love seeing the process from the other side of things. I hope my students enjoy being a part of drama club and want to be a part of it for years to come. I teach art, I love the arts and want to really develop the arts programs in our schools. The more variety, the better: digital photography, graphic design, theatre, dance, etc. I would love to see those students who excel in this area really shine.”

The play will have three showings at the Paul N. Luther Auditorium- April 27, 28 at 7 p.m. and April 29 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets will be $8 for general admission, $5 for seniors and students while children under five are free.

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