PUHI — A year ago, Peggy Ellenberg had never heard of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Nor had she seen the Oscar-nominated film adaptation directed by Wes Anderson.
In fact, Ellenberg had never heard of Anderson until one of her students expressed a passion for the story.
“Last year, I was the senior adviser to a senior who did his senior project on Wes Anderson. And I knew nothing about Wes Anderson. But he was so excited about it, I thought that since it will be Roald Dahls’ 100th birthday this year, I looked around and found two scripts. This one was done with David Wood and Dahl, and it just fit.”
Directing her 81st play at Island School, Ellenberg and her cast of 23 fifth-grade students will put on a production of Fantastic Mr. Fox at 7 tonight and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday in the school’s Main Hall.
Although Ellenberg enjoys working with the kids and putting on large productions, she still describes the process of putting all the pieces together in a simplistic, yet understandable manner.
“Total chaos,” Ellenberg calls it.
“You just do it. You have help, though. Everybody is constantly doing something. We’re working everyday for about two weeks. It takes a village,” she added.
For many of the 10-11 year olds in the production, this will be their first time performing on a stage in front of other people. But when TGI asked Titus Schweitzer if he was feeling nervous about being in front of an audience, he shook his head and smiled, saying he’s not nervous at all.
“I’m super excited! I love watching movies and when I watched Fantastic Mr. Fox, I thought it was a really good movie,” Titus said.
Titus will be portraying Bean. He won’t be playing Mr. Fox in the play, nor will he be playing an animal. Zach Ing, on the other hand, couldn’t be more elated about playing the role of a badger in the play.
“I like acting as an animal and being on stage. This is my first actual play, so I’m excited about that. I tried my best and I got to be a badger which is going to be really cool and fun.”
Even though these students are only in the fifth grade, a couple of them told TGI that performing is something that they’ve been interested in pursuing throughout their careers at Island School.
“I’ve always wanted to be in a play. It feels amazing to be on stage. This is my first play and It’s like a dream come true,” said Connor Tavares.
Tickets for the show are available from cast members and Island School’s front office. Tickets are $5 in advance and $16 for a family pass. Tickets are $7 and $20 for a family pass at the door.