A Peachy Production


Tony Hemenway

James, Glow Worm, Spider, and Centipede on the peach

The Sentinel Drama Department performed their production of James and the Giant Peach the week before Thanksgiving break. They performed over three days, starting on Friday, November 18, ending on Sunday November 20. The production began rehearsals in late September. At that time the cast and crew got busy going through acts, planning costumes and sets, and working on lights and sound design. The play starred junior Andrew Buchholz as James, who did an amazing job, along with his wonderful cast mates. Of course no play would be able to go on without the wonderful technicians. One of the incredibly important non-actors includes Jetayo Jones, as stage manager. The stage manager keeps track of just about everything, overseeing tech progress, as well as cast progression and getting them off book. 

“The story is extremely strange…”

The play was a success for bringing in many young families, as the play is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book of the same name. For those who don’t know, the story is about a young boy from England named James. His parents were killed, so he lives with his aunts, who treat him horribly. One day a little old man gives him a bag of magic beans, which he takes but spills on the ground where they burrow.  The next day a giant peach appears on the tree in his aunt’s yard. It falls to the ground and James decides to crawl in. He wanders to the center of the peach and finds a group of human-sized bugs.

They all say that they found glowing objects (the beans), and then next thing they knew, they were giant, inside the peach. The new, unlikely friends roll down the hill in the peach. They end up in the ocean where they meet danger, but don’t fear, James has a plan. They use the worm as bait and harness a massive amount of seagulls to carry them away. Eventually they end up in New York. The seagulls accidentally get cut off from the peach, and the group thinks they will meet their untimely demise. Fortunately, they land on the spike of the empire state building. They are recognized as heroes, and live happily ever after. The story is extremely strange and the series of events make little sense, but then again, it is a Roald Dahl story, so what more can be expected?

The playful costumes, staging, props, and blocking made the play exciting and slightly out of the ordinary. Centipede’s costume had little pillow legs attached to its sides, covered in small socks that looked like shoes. Similarly, Spider had long Arms connected to the actor’s own arms with strings. Glow Worm had a flowing dress with christmas lights strung through, which the actor lit up when called for. To represent the movement of the peach down the hill, some of the cast passed a giant ball painted to look like a peach, through the aisles and up around the stage. In parts of the show “Cloud Men” threw cotton balls through the audience. At the end of the play the group paraded throughout the theater, waving to the audience as they passed. The production utilized many methods to engage the audience of all ages. 

Being so engaging, the Drama Department’s production of James and the Giant Peach was a success, bringing joy to the audience over the three performances, assuring that the hours and hours of hard work put in by participants were well worth it in the end.