Highland Local Schools presented their 2016 production, The Velveteen Rabbit over the weekend.
The beloved story, written in 1922 by Marjorie Williams, tells the tale of a stuffed rabbit longing to be real, and the boy whose love makes it so.
The cast and crew were fearlessly led by longtime dramatist of more than 32 years, Joe Bell, with delightful musical direction by both Joe and Martha Bell, and seamless technical direction by Kevin Adams.
The production was clean and the sets were sharp, fun and created by the students. The large set pieces were well used in the space. Easily, the audience was transported from bed room to forest and back again. In addition, the song performances were strong, clear and entertaining, while the costumes were eclectic, amusing and much varied-from mimes to psychedelic bunnies.
Abby White, a junior at Highland, played the Velveteen Rabbit, which looked to be no small feat as the role required multiple costume changes and several solos. Her portrayal was well animated and skillfully timed with subtle action accompanied by a sweet voice.
The Boy was played by fourth grader Hannah Wagner, who brought vibrant energy to the character and strong pure singing.
But by far the most forceful performance belonged to Nana, played by Sophomore Sophia Thompson. It probably didn’t hurt that the very first song was her singing, “Top Banana Nana,” which was powerful combined with fluid acting and keen comedic timing. Thompson stood out in a crowd of excellent actors, for her strength and passion on the stage.
Sadly one must wait a whole year for Highland’s next theatre event, Annie, in 2017.