GENESEO — The classic children’s tale “Charlotte’s Web” comes to life on the Geneseo Central School stage May 26 in honor of GCS senior and drama club member Brigid Herlihy, who passed away in August.
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The play, which tells the tale of Wilbur the pig and his friend Charlotte the spider, runs for two shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for kids. No reservations are needed and tickets may be purchased at the door one hour before the show.
All proceeds from the play and a raffle of stuffed pigs courtesy of Touch of Grayce and Noreen’s Hallmark benefit the Rochester Ronald McDonald House in memory of Brigid, whose family stayed there while she was sick.
The production’s cast consists of 21 middle schoolers, while the crew consists of senior drama club members or club officers, who acted beside Brigid in previous GCS plays. GCS senior and drama club member Ethan Fletcher serves as director alongside stage manager and fellow senior drama club member Kathryn Nesbitt. Bettina DeBell, Geneseo Drama Club’s director, acts as advisor.
“The club decided to have a student directed show featuring middle school actors for several reasons,” said DeBell. “We knew we had a great deal of talent in the MS that hadn’t been tapped in the musical or March play that were cast with high school performers. We were looking for a way to honor Brigid Herlihy, a dedicated senior class drama club member, who passed away this summer. We thought to combine the two efforts and choose a piece that reflected Brigid- Charlotte’s Web- a tale of friendship and sacrifice.”
The production members solicited grants and donations to cover the cost of the production. Geneseo Central Education Fund and the Geneseo PTSA also donated to the cause, as did several local businesses and individuals, according to DeBell.
Putting together a play and being on the other side of the auditorium is certainly a new and different experience for Ethan and Kathryn.
“There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it that you don’t think about,” said Ethan. “It’s enjoyable, though, and it’s fun to see everything come together in the end.”
For Kathryn, working with the cast has been a tough, but rewarding experience.
“It’s been crazy,” said Kathryn. “It’s fun though. The kids we’re working with, it’s amazing how talented they are.”
After they graduate, Kathryn and Ethan have big plans. Kathryn will attend Finger Lakes Community College for communications and keep theater as an extracurricular activity. She also plans to go to law school in the future.
Ethan will be heading off to Ithaca to major in Emerging Media, a new major that combines visual arts and technology.
As for the young cast members Alexandria Barnett, Josh DeBell, Eric Leary, Chloe Kernan, Hunter Radesi, Sarah Watkins, Paul Allen, Sarah Halstead, Michaela Kingston, Emily Slade, Garrison Hunt, Felicity Thomas, John Rutigliano, Matthew Esham, Logan Ellis, Evan Halstead, Francesca McClure, Ashley Wilke, Emma Post, Skye Boughton and Noah Crane? Well, they just may be starring in GCS plays for years to come.