Wilbur the Pig, played by Teresa Flores, says goodbye to Charlotte’s newly hatched spiders as barnyard friends Abbie Sala, a sheep, Xiomara McCormick, a goose, Troy Iglesias, a gander, and Robert Hobday, Templeton the rat, watch. The Ellison High School theater students performed the play at three elementary schools Tuesday.

Elementary students learn about theater

By Todd Martin

Special to the Daily Herald

Bringing a children’s literary masterpiece to the stage, Ellison High School drama students took theater on the road the day before the Thanksgiving break.

Students from Ellison’s top theater classes staged “Charlotte’s Web” at Bellaire, Reeces Creek and Trimmier elementary schools in Killeen Tuesday, exposing children to stage play.

In the first performance of the day, at Bellaire, second- through fourth-graders sat in silence as a world of barnyard magic, with talking animals and a writing spider, came to life.

The kind-hearted pig, Wilbur, played by Teresa Flores, fell into hysterics when the worldly-wise sheep, played by Abbie Sala, convinced him the family was only giving him fresh slops to fatten him for slaughter.

But, the smart and mysterious spider, Charlotte, played by Khadijah Bradley, began spinning her web and writing out words in silk, which convinced the community something otherworldly was at work.

For the past two years, Ellison theater director Meredith Yanchak said her students in Theater 3 and 4 wanted to do something to bring their craft to the younger generation.

“We’ve never done anything like this, just for children,” said Flores following the first of three performances Tuesday in Killeen Independent School District elementary schools.

“I think it’s refreshing to have a different audience. We’re exposing them to theater,” she said.

“They see movies, but not live shows like this,” said Sala, who played the part of the sheep and was partially covered in cotton balls.

“The story is sweet,” Sala said. “It shows that friendship is important and that you should stick up for your friends.”

Flores admitted that she wasn’t entirely familiar with the plot of the classic story. Now, she knows it and so do the elementary schools’ students.

Bellaire counselor Theodosia Varnado said the play was a breath of fresh air for students a day before a three-day holiday for Thanksgiving.

“I remember going to the theater as a child,” Varnado said. “This is making memories for them.”