Patrick Doss says playing a pig is a lot of fun. Doss is Wilbur in the TheatreWorks USA production of “Charlotte’s Web” that will be at the Bill Heard Theatre Friday.
“It’s really interesting to see how different audiences react to me running on stage dressed as a pig,” Doss said. “It takes a lot of energy, a lot of running. It’s more animated than most parts.”
This is the actor’s second tour with “Charlotte’s Web.”
Before going on tour, he watched both the original 1973 animated cartoon with voices of Debbie Reynolds (Charlotte), Paul Lynde (Templeton) and Henry Gibson (Wilbur) and the live action movie from 2006 starring Dakota Fanning (Fern), Julie Roberts (Charlotte), Steve Buscemi (Templeton) and Dominic Scott Kay (Wilbur). He also read the book.
This stage version features six actors. All take multiple roles except Doss and the actor playing Charlotte.
“This stays pretty true to the book,” Doss said. “It’s very good children’s theater. It deals with Charlotte dying in a very mature and up front way. We don’t talk down to children. So you see Charlotte dying and in the spring the spider babies are born.”
Doss graduated from the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City in February of 2007. By that fall, he was cast as the Prince in the touring production of “The Little Mermaid.”
While he said his academic studies got him ready for auditions and acting, the stage manager for “The Little Mermaid” gave him the education in the “venue to venue” of theater etiquette.
Doss explains that every theater has unwritten etiquette rules like not whistling in the theater or having peacock feathers in the dressing rooms.
He said early on, when he did something against the theater’s rules, he was told firmly but nicely not to do it again.
“I was fortunate enough to have some very forgiving people. As opposed to chastising, they were nice.”
Because he got regular work right away after graduation, Doss considers himself lucky.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate,” he said. “I’ve been able to make my entire income from acting.”