1. Eat slops! – A daring idea. But unexpected. Bring some kind of trough onto the stage. It could be a big plastic tub – preferably low slung. Maybe even circular. Have someone come out as Lurvy w/ a bucket and dump some slops into it. (I’d suggest the “slops” be easy and innocuous – maybe Cream of Wheat or Quaker Oats.) Have him/her dressed in overalls and big fishing boots. ‘Lurvy’ bangs a wooden spoon on the bucket and yells, “Slops! Come and get ‘em!” And dumps the slops into your trough/bucket. Then – the magic moment – 3 or 4 or 6 pre-arranged students emerge – from the audience (that would be daring) – or from the wings. They crawl on all fours – like pigs. Perhaps they even have pigtails attached to their belts. And they arrive at the trough – take a look around – and dig in. Eating face down – no hands – w/ abandon. I’d imagine your audience will crack up. Many will wish they could eat some slops like a pig. And – hopefully – they will be enticed and want to find out what that’s all about. Let the “pigs” finish – then let them crawl around and find some place on the stage to lie down and rest/sleep. And then introduce Charlotte’s Web.
4. Read Chapter 1 – This is never a novel idea – just an old standby – the default, always safe, this-will-always-work – choice. But in the case of Charlotte’s Web I’d suggest adding something more. Because you will have a cohort of students who will already have read Charlotte’s Web before – on their own or w/ their parents – use this to your advantage. Introduce the first chapter by saying something like, “For those of you who have read Charlotte’s Web before, Remember the first time – how special it was to discover it – the world of the barn and Charlotte? Please don’t give anything away to those who will be experienceing Charlotte’s Web for their very first time. And wouldn’t you like to share your experience of Charlotte’s Web with someone else – your parents or younger siblings?? That is what creating a Community of Readers is all about. Treasuring and sharing our favorite stories and characters and books.”