Russell Auditorium transformed into a larger-than-life Candyland. Charlie Bucket rejoiced in finding the fifth Golden Ticket. Oompa Loompas danced around the stage, singing about naughty children and their bad habits.
But there was no one in the audience.
The cast of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka” participated in a four-day boot camp in Russell Auditorium, blocking the entire show in a mere 40 hours.
Amy Pinney, theatre professor and director of “Wonka” discussed the process of blocking the show.
“Some of [the blocking] I can do on paper and in my head,” Pinney said, “but a lot of it requires live bodies in the space to create the pictures that we want.”
Halley Bowman, junior theatre major, plays Augusta Gloop and marveled on the amount of work the cast was able to do in four days.
“The fact that we’ve gotten so much done in this small amount of time is incredible, and getting the show on its feet is a really good feeling,” she said.
Bowman also reflected on the energy that radiated throughout the boot camp.
“It’s all been positive energy,” she said. “Besides being tired, there hasn’t been a terrible moment.”
Joanna Grissom, freshman theatre major, portrays Mrs. Gloop and discusses the boot camp and how beneficial it has been for the show.
“It’s a lot of fun and really hard work, but it’s all going to pay off,” she said. “We’ve all bonded every night after rehearsal. I think it’s really necessary to bring everybody together.”
The main cast of the show are Charlie Bucket, played by freshman music major Nich Stinson, and Willy Wonka, played by senior music education major David Dingess.
“I’m extremely excited,” Stinson said regarding his role. “It’s so great to be given this part. There are no words to describe it.”
Dingess expressed his connection with Wonka.
“I feel like I’m a little quirky [and] like I’m a lone wolf. I’m out just searching for a good friend so I can connect with that…I also just love to be sassy,” he said.
Although they are similar, Dingess acknowledges that portraying Wonka has its challenges.
“I have to really step up anything that is odd,” he said. “I have to think about what someone would do if they did not care for social norm at all.”
On the final day of boot camp, the cast ran through the entire show, which only run around an hour and a half.
“The entire show is geared for kids,” Pinney said, “and we’re aiming for two Wendy Mullen, music professor and music director of “Wonka,” explained the reasoning for the target audience.
“We’ve done a variety of musicals…and we just decided it was time to do a children’s show,” she said.
This version of Willy Wonka was adapted from the original book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. However, there were some changes to the Oompa Loompas.
“They’re individuals,” Pinney said. “Each Oompa Loompa looks different.”
In fact, there are eight different Oompa Loompas: Sweet Justice (Hero Oompa), Oompa Blue (Protest Oompa), Rhapsody (Hip-hop Oompa), Tribute Oompa, Punk Rock Oompa, Hipster Oompa, Ninja Oompa and Princess Oompa. Each Loompa will have its own unique costuming and makeup.
As for Violet turning blue, you’ll just have to wait and see.
The show will be performed Feb. 26 – March 1 at 8 p.m. in Russell Auditorium and again on March 2 at 2 p.m.