Students in the Pace High School drama program want to invite local families to enter the world of 'James and the Giant Peach' created by British author Roald Dahl.

Students in the Pace High School drama program want to invite local families to enter the world of ‘James and the Giant Peach’ created by British author Roald Dahl.

“(The students) have really stepped up. I am really proud of the show,” said Valerie Wright, the PHS performing arts instructor. “They have brought these characters to life.”

In addition to the colorful, over-the-top characters, Wright said attendees can expect a lot of laughs for children and their parents in the family-friendly show, which begins this weekend with the final two performances on September 24 and 26.

 The performing arts students received the scripts prior to the summer break and casting took place the first week of school, Wright said. For five weeks students worked hard at a fast pace, building sets and attending rehearsals to make sure everything would be fine-tuned before their first curtain.

 As stage manager, Andrew Hand steadily worked on creating set pieces, which will take the audience away to the world created in the popular children’s book. Hand said he prefers using his creativity behind the scenes.  

“When I joined drama, I always knew I wasn’t going to be an actor but I am really good on the technical side,” Hand said. “As the stage manager, I am going to be in charge of the lights and sound.”

Brenna Tressler, the production’s director, said it is a challenge in bringing the popular children’s book to the stage.

“We want to stay true to Roald Dahl’s image and the whole world he created,” Tressler said. “We tried not to make it about how we would see the show, but about how he would have seen the show. We also don’t want to disappoint the people who love the story.”

Jordan Capp, who plays the lead character of James, feels confident the drama class has completed the director’s vision.

“We have done our own aspects to it,” Capp said. “We have gotten more into the book which is cool because it brings Roald Dahl justice.”

Playing the lead role is new territory for Capp. However, his love for the material is worth the challenge, he said.

“I really liked the book. It is one of my favorite children’s books ever,” Capps said.

Baleigh Perritt and Avery Brown play the oppressive relatives and caretakers of James, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge. Brown said it can be difficult portraying the antagonist.

“I don’t think I come across as a mean person,” Brown said. “Whenever I am backstage, I have to tell myself to be the first person go out on stage and beat (James) up.”

Perritt, who used YouTube to learn a cockney accent for her character, believes each performance will be a treat for area families.

“I think the parents are going to be impressed with all of the hard work we have put into it,” Perritt said. “I’m hoping the little kids will walk into this with a world of imagination and leave their school behind.”