From the page to the stage


Sara Forsey, Staff Writer

The LJCDS community has brought to life yet another book, called James and the Giant Peach. The story about an orphaned boy named James who is taken in by his two horrible aunts after his parents are killed in an accident. James, while living with his aunts, meets a stranger named Landlord, who teaches him to create a magic spell that eventually spills on a peach. The peach grows to an enormous size, leading the aunts to sell it off for their own benefit. Later James explores inside the peach, finding a spider, ladybug, earthworm, grasshopper, and centipede. The peach then rolls into the Atlantic Ocean, of where the bugs and James find themselves traveling from England to New York. Along the way, James becomes friends with the bugs that teach him that there is always someone who is watching over him.   

The play takes this plot to the extreme by scattering it with singing, dancing, and fun conversations. The play not only look at the perspective of James, but of the his aunts and Landlord. Every scene has at least one dance and singing number and each song contributed to the humor of the play.The choreography was well-arranged, using all 50 cast members in each scene.

The scenery was a great addition to the play, helping to show the creative world of James and the Giant Peach. With colorful clothing and great props, I really felt like I was actually in England. One of the best props was the shadow piece, in which a light was placed behind a sheet to emphasize shadows. This was used in place for James dreaming and for the peach growing. There were also handmade puppets to simulate the bugs before they grow to the size of an average human. Using paper mache, wood, and actual pictures from the movie helped to show the significance of the bugs before their growth spurt. The backstage crew also had the chance to build a staircase to simulate the enormous peach. The characters’ costumes were well suited to the actual book.  

The cast members played their parts well, trying to act as though one was a bug, vagrant, nasty aunt, etc. The first performance the middle schoolers put on, had a rough start, and many of the actors forgot their lines or cues. But over the next few days they got better, and were great at the performance for the middle school and lower school. It is a shame that the upper school is not obligated to attend the middle school performances to support the future actors and actresses of the upper school. All in all, this play showed that even old books can come to life.