Lake-Lehman plans ‘sweet’ performances

First Posted: 11/5/2014

Whimsical. Unique. Fun.

These are some of the words repeated by multiple Lake-Lehman High School student actors and actresses to describe Roald Dahl’s classic story “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which they will present next weekend in its theater adaptation, “Willy Wonka.”

“I like the more whimsical, fun side of it,” said Hannah Kasko, who will play the part of Violet, a character whose gum-chewing habit gets her in trouble when she blows up like a big piece of bubble gum.

The eighth-grade student said one aspect she likes about the story-line is the use of humor to get a message across — a message that shows what childhood should be about, opposed to what it often is about in today’s world.

The play will be presented at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16 in the school’s auditorium. Tickets for reserved seats may be purchased by calling 570-901-1259 or emailing General admission will be available at the door for $8 for adults and $6 for those high school aged and younger.

Lake-Lehman Theatre Director Gina Major said the entire cast is doing a great job so far, especially considering the late start it got due to rehearsals for another fall play, “Catherdale Manor,” which was performed on the same stage just a few weeks ago.

Major described the upcoming production as “colorful.”

“As you can imagine,” she said, “inside the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka, there are tons and tons of set pieces. The props, flowers, mushrooms, grass, trees, bubble gum room, fizzy lift room, scroll room, nut room — Oh my goodness, I could go on.”

The theater adaptation is based on the classic movie in which Wonka was portrayed by Gene Wilder, and includes the songs from the film. Ronnie Ziomek, a senior, holds that role in the Lake-Lehman production, and Major observed he has many similarities to Wilder’s characterization.

Ziomek said one thing he enjoys most about the part is taking two different interpretations of the character (Wilder’s from 1971 and that of Johnny Depp in 2005) and adding his own spin to the mix.

“And he does,” Major confirmed, laughing.

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was one of Ziomek’s favorite childhood movies and what he described as a “dream role.”

“It’s the craziest role I’ve played,” he said.

Julia Bucholtz, eighth grade, said her role as Mike Teavee is the perfect part for her as well, as the character is “all into electronics,” which is something she enjoys in real life. Similarly, Keara Gallagher, ninth grade, who is playing Augustus, a boy who loves to eat, enjoys food and is having fun with the part.

In contrast, Marina Malcom, a freshman, is playing the part of a character quite opposite her own: Mrs. Salt.

“I [Mrs. Salt] am high class,” she said. “I sadly don’t seem to care about my daughter. I just care about success, and it rubs off on Veruca. Like in any other play, you can become a person you wouldn’t normally be. And that’s the beauty of the theater.”

The daughter, Varuca, is portrayed by Courtney Richards, who said she too has to adapt to a personality unlike her own.

“It’s been a challenge,” she said, “but it’s definitely been fun.”

Charlie and his grandfather are played by Katelyn Sincavage, a freshman, and James Cihocki, a senior.

Cihocki is glad for the opportunity to play the role of a senior citizen because it’s something he’s never done before.

“I’m still getting used to the cane,” he said, laughing.

Sincavage appreciates the positive attitude of her character, despite the fact that Charlie comes from a poverty-stricken family. Of the story-line, she said there is a lesson to be taken away from the absence of a “bad guy” in the plot.

“There’s not really a villain,” she said. “It’s about how the children make their own choices.”

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