Theater puts on a peachy-keen summer play


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Alex Irwin, the centipede in “James and the Giant Peach,” performs a rap prose by reciting lines to a beat Friday night at the Gladish Community and Cultural Center.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen Roots editor

Pullman Civic Theatre (PCT) opened its summer production of “James and the Giant Peach” on Friday.

The play, based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel, follows the story of a boy named James (Reed Newell) after he is gifted a bag of magic crystals that set him on a grand adventure.

Director Dean Bourland said he chose “James and the Giant Peach” because it is a classic that the audience and the show’s cast of children and adults can enjoy.

“It’s very popular, and it’s a well-known script,” Bourland said. “[The play] gives people the chance to be involved in something they know and love.”

The show features what Bourland calls “rap prose” — poetry from the novel interspersed throughout the play and set to percussion work by Stuart Cornwall.

In the scene “Eating a Peach,” the character Centipede (Alex Irwin) strolls around the stage as he addresses his companions, including James, Earthworm (Kalista McCafferty), Ladybird (Lauren Welch), Miss Spider (Elizabeth Bourland) and Old Green Grasshopper (Andy Cornwall).

“I’ve eaten many strange and scrumptious dishes in my time,” Centipede tells his companions, “but there’s no doubt I’d go without a million plates of each, for one small mite, one tiny bite, of this fantastic peach!”

PCT produces a children’s play every year, such as “The Phantom Tollbooth” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” Bourland said.

“We do a children’s show every summer, and this is the third one that I have directed,” he said. “Next year, we are planning to do ‘Winnie the Pooh.’ ”

Bourland started at PCT 10 years ago, and everyone involved in production is there on a volunteer basis, he said.

“All the money from ticket sales goes into the next production,” he said. “It’s just keeping us sustained.”

Everyone is welcome to get involved, even if they’re not actors, he said.

“We welcome anybody from the community with almost any skill level. If you want to act, if you want to direct, if you want to help sell tickets, or build sets, or hand out programs, we welcome everybody,” he said. “It’s a community organization, and we love to bring in new people who enjoy doing what we are doing.”

The play will run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Gladish Community and Cultural Center and again at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets can be purchased online at PCT’s website, at Dissmore’s IGA or Neill’s Flowers and Gifts.