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CTG brings childhood classic to life with James and the Giant Peach

One of the most magical aspects of childhood is the power of the imagination. A herd of stuffed animals becomes guests at a tea party. A pile of Legos rises into a castle guarded by a dragon. And even a giant peach turns into a house full of imaginary friends. The possibilities are endless, and so are the adventures of one inventive orphan in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, which Community Theatre of Greensboro is performing this weekend.

“It is a great book that comes alive on the stage,” said Roz Fulton, CTG education director, “and the music is amazing.”

In the junior musical, which is based on the classic children’s book, a young orphan named James is forced to live with his two cruel aunts. For years, James is subject to treacherous chores, neglect and abuse, sadly wishing each day away while he falls asleep on their bare attic floor. Life looks glum for this young British lad, until he crosses paths with a magical peach the size of a house.

James crawls into the peach and finds it’s filled with human-sized insects who quickly become his friends. Together the crew roll away onto new and exciting adventures, passing villages, a chocolate factory, and even crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

The tale is rich with creative opportunities, not just for a child’s imagination, but for a theatre crew, too. Community Theatre of Greensboro tapped into their colorful, childlike creativity to make its production unique.

“In the beginning you see the characters portrayed by puppets, and then as the story unfolds the students bring the puppets alive by becoming them,” Fulton said.

“The puppets really aren’t that elaborate; they’re just hand puppets. But it’s neat to see the kids adjust to having to bring their hand to life and not so much their body.”

There are 28 cast members, ages 7 to 16, in the youth production. Usually CTG encourages the children to help with the costume creation or set design, but Fulton said for this production the children’s participation was limited to acting.

“For this show we didn’t have the kids as involved in the set and costume making,” Fulton said. “It’s summer so we just wanted them to have a good time and enjoy being in the show.”

“We have many students who are new to performing and to see the energy that they bring is wonderful,” Fulton added. The students have been rehearsing since the end of May. !

WANNA go?

Community Theatre of Greensboro presents James and the Giant Peach, Jr. Friday through Sunday and July 21-24 at its Starr Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets are $10-$15. For tickets and more information call 336-333-7469 or visit ctgso.org.

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