Did you receive a golden ticket to attend Charlie and the Chocolate Factory performed by the MHS Theater Department last Friday and Saturday night? The message was heartwarming, the actors flawlessly delivered their lines, and Willy Wonka and his costume were spot-on. The play, adapted from Roald Dahl’s children’s book by the same name, turned out to be an entertaining escape from the hum-drum workaday world.
Dahl, who is renowned for encouraging millions of children across the world to love reading, also penned Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and over a dozen others.
If you’ve ever wondered where he got his ideas, or considered writing children stories in hopes of becoming equally as popular, just follow his simple formula:
Roald grew up in Wales, but his parents were from Norway. His mother told him tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian beasts. Roald’s sister died when she was seven, and his father, who had been a talented woodcarver despite only having one arm, died a few weeks later. Roald’s behavior at school became less than perfect, and at age nine, he was sent to a boarding school where the students were sometimes forced to be chocolate testers for the nearby Cadbury Chocolate Company. Roald became a star at sports, so school went much more smoothly. However, at this school, he met the infamous “Miss Trunchball who disliked small boys very much”, the twitching Latin teacher “Mr. Hardcastle,” and the cane-wielding headmaster. (His real-life headmaster went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury.)
After Roald graduated, he was hired by Shell Oil and sent to Africa. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Air Force and was trained as a pilot. In 1940, he was posted to Libya and crashed in the Western Desert in North Africa. He spent six months recuperating in a hospital in Egypt.
When he recovered, he was transferred to Washington, D.C. to serve as an assistant air attaché. He also married the Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal and they had five children. Their oldest daughter, Olivia, died at age seven, a year after their oldest son Theo’s baby buggy was broadsided by a New York taxi. Theo suffered a brain injury and Roald became very involved in his care. He contacted a toymaker (of course), who specialized in making tiny hydraulic pumps for model airplane engines. The duo frequently visited the operating room of the neurosurgeon treating Theo, and together they invented a device used to treat hydrocephalus in young children.
It is only after all of this that Roald began his career as a children’s author. He used his remarkable talent of seeing the world through a youngster’s eyes to create outlandishly wonderful and incredibly tragic situations and characters.
Roald has been quoted many times as saying, “If you want to remember what it’s like to live in a child’s world, you’ve got to get down on your hands and knees and live like that for a week. You’ll find you have to look up at all these giants around you who are always telling you what to do and what not to do.” Good advice, and though daunting, probably much easier to do than reenacting Roald’s life.
The MHS Cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
Nadia Thue as Narrator
Avery VanOverbeke as Willie Wonka
Preston Laskowske as Charlie Bucket
Sam Shelstad as Augustus Gloop
Ivy Lewno as Violet Beauregarde
Isabella Vogel as Veruca Salt
Hunter Reede as Mike Teavee
Franklin Pederson as Grampa Joe
Nycole Korstjens as Mrs. Gloop
Hope Karels as Mrs. Beauregarde
Amelia Pederson as Mrs. Salt
Dan Shelstad as Mr. Teavee
Camila Monroy as Mrs. Teavee
Jack Ter Denge as Mr. Bucket
Charlotte Street as Mrs. Bucket,
Jenna Korstjens as Grandma Josephine
Parker Grabow as Grandpa George
Macy Mueller as Grandma Georgina and
Jazmynne Ronke, Taylor Hallquist, Eleanor Gastineau, Ava Sichmiller, Debrianna Hicks, Izabella Glomstad, Alexis Meyer, Rebecca Lavallee, Yanderyn Olivares and Riley Ehlebracht as the Oompa Loompas
Sebastion Vogel and Landon Novy – Stage Managers.
Caitlyn Frerichs, Krista Nies and Ivy Lewno – Assistant Directors.
Max Schuelke and Dona Chan – Lighting
Holly Hilbrands – Director