Charlotte's Web is one of the most beloved children's stories in history, and it's about to get the Savannah Stage Company treatment. Under the direction of Jayme Tinti, and starring Geena Denton in the role of Wilbur and Lexi Balaoing Ambrose as Charlotte, the show will open at Starland Yard on March 7 as a kickoff to the group's regional tour. That tour will wrap up with an encore performance at Forsyth Park on March 29.
“We’re calling this our ‘Season of Imagination,’ and each year we pull from our values,” Tinti tells Connect. “This show fits right in there. For us, playing animals is so imaginative. We get to explore physicality in such a deep way.”
To prepare for their roles in the show, which tells the story of Wilbur and Charlotte’s unlikely friendship as a pig and spider respectively, Tinti says the company did multiple workshops to explore how they could assume the characters in a stage setting.
“We explored how to move like an animal and what’s important [for the physicality]. We’ve had a blast figuring out how pigs move and how rats move,” she says. “Playing animals is always a challenge, but it’s something that we have to throw our imagination into 110 percent.”
The Starland Yard performance, on Sat., March 7 at 2 P.M., will find the company putting on the show in a unique location—before going on a regional tour that brings the shows to schools, nursing homes, and other audiences.
“We’re heading to Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and we’ll be gone for an entire week. And when we come back, we’ll bring an encore performance to Forsyth on the 29th. We’re continuing in our tradition of bringing free, accessible theater to the city,” Tinti says.
The experience of taking their shows to schools and nursing homes has been a rewarding one for Savannah Stage in the past—especially in the case of some schools where Tinti says she’s met students who’d never seen a theater production before.
“They literally have not had that experience,” she says. “And then there are some places we go to where there are people who wait for us to come back. They cherish the shows they’ve seen from us.”
When they visit schools, Tinti says they often do what they call a “talk back”—an immersive experience with the cast and crew where students can learn about the process of staging a production.
“We try to make it as humanized and accessible as possible,” she says, “so that if someone wants to do this, they know that they can.”