Set design, makeup, lighting and costumes help bring Charlotte Web to life

  Tuesday, October 20, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Set design, makeup, lighting and costumes help bring Charlotte Web to life

By itself, the large cast for the Pittsburg State University Theatre’s production of “Charlotte’s Web” is impressive. Add to that a flexible and changing set and lighting, dozens of fanciful costumes, and bright, creative makeup, and the result is a production that will delight children and adults alike.

Linden Little, who is in charge of set and lighting design, said one of the key factors he took into consideration in designing the set was the need for quick transformations.

“We actually have three barns,” Little said. “They turn, spin and flip. Everything has to be quick.”

The sets take the audience from Zukerman’s farm to the county fair, with stops in a child’s bedroom in between.

To accomplish all of the work, Little said, he has relied on the help of about 13 students just for technical production.

Turning the cast of 20 humans into barnyard animals, including Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider, depends on the talents of Lisa Quinteros, who is in charge of costume and makeup design.

“This year we used water-based face paints instead of traditional make-up for all the animal characters,” Quinteros said. “That was both challenging and exciting to experiment with.”

Clothing for the human characters reflects the 1950s style in vogue when the book was originally written, but with a modern twist.

“I wanted the clothing to appeal to the aesthetics of people now, but carry the feel and style of the 1950s in the same way,” Quinteros said.

Director Megan Westhoff said the play, written by Joseph Robinette, is a faithful adaptation of E.B. White’s treasured novel.

“This adaptation is the only one that White believed kept the intention and spirit of his original work,” Westhoff said.

That original story has endured over the decades and its themes of themes of friendship, loyalty and determination still resonant with audiences today.

The story follows the life of Wilbur the pig, who is adopted by the farmer’s daughter, Fern. When Wilbur is moved to his new life on the Zuckerman farm, he meets a new group of barnyard friends, including Charlotte the spider. Wilbur soon learns that pigs are not meant to live forever on a farm. Charlotte, meanwhile, enlists the help of her friends to save Wilbur from slaughter. She weaves words in her web to bring attention to the radiant and humble pig. Through the journey, all of the characters learn the importance of friendships. As Wilbur tells his friends, “I can face anything with friends like you. Friendship is one of the most satisfying things in the world.”

“Charlotte’s Web” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with two additional matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $11 for the general public, $6 for persons under 17 or over 65, and free to PSU students, faculty and staff with a valid PSU photo ID. Tickets are available through the PSU Ticket Office, 620-235-4796,, or at the door approximately 30 minutes prior to curtain. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Charlotte's Web makeup



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