The kids in our cast are really pretty extraordinary. They are hardworking, thoughtful, and very talented young men and women. Today’s feature is no exception. Charlie Ratterree is an actor, musician, avid reader, designer, quote collector, and to top it all off, a member of our cast!
I started off as I always do, asking how they like being a part of Oliver!. Charlie enthusiastically jumped in with “Since this is my first show, I like how this has become a family, and I like visiting my family.” Charlie and Shaw, who is playing Oliver, are particularly close, having met in 1st grade and continuing to stay in touch during youth group at church despite attending different schools. Charlie’s mother actually told him about the opportunity to audition for Oliver! since she herself did theatre when she was younger. Since this is his first show, I asked Charlie if he thought he would continue to audition for future shows.
“I’m going to try. I have really liked this experience of Oliver!; it’s been really enjoyable and I’m going to really try to keep it up.” I then asked what he thought had been the hardest thing about being a part of this production. “Really time management. Because you’ve got your school work, then you stay up late doing rehearsals, then go back to school and take a test and get homework. Sometimes you haven’t finished your homework before rehearsal and that will make it harder for the next day. It’s like a domino effect, but I think it’s worth it.”
Charlie mentioned how he thought Greenville Theatre has a great space for this show. He commented how all the photos in our lobby demonstrate how transformational our stage can be. Due to this comment I asked him if he had ever thought about working in theatre as a set designer. He smiled at me then responded, “Well… when I grow up I want to be an architect. Both my grandfathers were architects and as a child I loved playing with Legos and building forts.”
Though this is Charlie’s first professional production, he is no stranger to the theatre as he is part of the A.R.M.E.S program at the Fine Arts Center currently in the theatre department.
Charlie is also a very gifted cellist. “My mother had always wanted to play the cello but her family had a history of playing the violin so that’s what she ended up playing. So she introduced me to the cello when I was 2, and of course I didn’t do much; I was just plucking strings, but then I started playing in 3rd grade. They had just opened up the option to do the A.R.M.E.S program to my grade level. I auditioned and got it!” Charlie now plays with the advanced strings program at his school and attends the A.R.M.E.S. program for theatre in the afternoons. The advanced strings group started at 5 students and has now grown to about 15 very gifted students. Knowing that the cello is quite a large instrument, I inquired how Charlie dealt with that on a day to day basis. “The cello is not as big as a bass, and that’s what kind of drew me to it.” He said when he was finally old enough to actually start playing, he got a hold of a cello and said it felt immediately natural for his body. “I can’t do a violin or viola because they go up too high for me, so with the cello it wasn’t like the bass where I’d have to lug it around, and it wasn’t too screechy.” Considering he’s playing the cello at such an advanced level for his age, we know the cello was just right for Charlie.
Since Charlie is so heavily involved in the arts I was curious how else he likes to spend his time. I learned that he really loves reading and is currently finishing up the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. “Once you get to the seventh book though, you can’t tell anyone because they will spoil it for you!”, he said giggling. Some of his favorite past reads have been A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Chronicles of Narnia. Noting that these are all series books, I asked why he seems to prefer these over stand-alone novels; he replied while smiling, “Then it’s less work trying to find a new book!” Charlie also has really become excited about working on some magic card tricks and keeps a deck of cards in his backpack. He’s been learning most of his tricks from his friends at school. He then proceeded to show me his latest hobby, collecting quotes. Carrying a small notebook around in his back pocket, he writes down any quote that speaks to him both verbal and written. He read to me one of his most recent additions, which is the dedication that J.K. Rowling put in the front of the 7th Harry Potter book. Charlie is also quite the writer. He was a part of Greenville Wordsmiths, writing stories that were compiled into collective books. They covered all sorts of topics such as fantasy and mystery.
Charlie also has a younger sister, Helen Ratterree, who sat in on our interview and whom he proudly told me he loves very much.
Summing it up, as I do all the interviews, I asked Charlie what word he would use to describe the show Oliver!. After a good couple minutes of thinking, he finally told me, “Marvelous.”
So come see marvelous Charlie in our marvelous production of Oliver!. Tickets go on sale to the public February 11th and our show opens March 1st!