Plainfield comes out in force for 'Willy Wonka'

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Plainfield - posted Mon., May. 6, 2013
The cast of 'Willy Wonka' takes a final bow at Plainfield High School. Photos by D. Coffey.
The cast of 'Willy Wonka' takes a final bow at Plainfield High School. Photos by D. Coffey.

There were moments during rehearsal when Aidan Laliberte felt he might fly into the ceiling during his performance as Willy Wonka in the Plainfield High School production on May 3. The junior admitted to being a little nervous in the beginning. “A few times I came close to hitting the lights,” he said.

And from the audience, it looked mighty close on occasion. But Laliberte and three other students were able to pull off the flying stunts with ease during the opening performance. “Once you're up there, the adrenalin gets going,” he said. “You really feel like you're flying, and the set was just magical.”

The elaborate set included a larger-than-life-size mural that served as a backdrop for Charlie Bucket's home. A “two-story” candy factory included a mountain of flowing “chocolate,” turning cranks and wheels, a psychedelic invention room and a host of colorful characters in the ensemble.

It was also a school-wide, and nearly town-wide project. The orchestra pit was filled with student musicians. The foods class made Wonka candy bars. A graphic arts class designed the wrappers. Architectural CAD students designed and helped build the set. Art students created sculptures and props. And children from the elementary and middle schools were cast as Oompa Loompas, candy workers who kept a close eye on production at the factory.

Laliberte, who almost didn't try out for the play, was a marvelously quick-witted Wonka. “He's a diamond in the rough,” Stevenson said. “He's the kind of kid that we do this for. He's a brilliant guy. He was a go-to kid on crew two years ago. Last year, as a sophomore, he took a turn on stage. He did everything we asked him to do. This year, he auditioned and it was one of the best auditions I've ever seen.”

Laliberte was a pleasure to watch as he dispatched four terribly impolite children during a tour of his factory. Tom Linevitch's Charlie Bucket was almost the exact opposite as the honest, polite, poor kid whom Willy Wonka eventually chose as heir to the candy throne. “This year everyone fit exactly where we placed them,” Stevenson said. “That's such a good feeling.”

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