Hayden makes ‘A Christmas Carol’ come to life | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden makes ‘A Christmas Carol’ come to life

Nicole Inglis

Charles Dickens, played by Tyanna Zabel, introduces a scene from Hayden Secondary Schools’ presentation of “A Christmas Carol.” The play will be showing at 7 p.m. today and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.

Charles Dickens, played by Tyanna Zabel, introduces a scene from Hayden Secondary Schools' presentation of "A Christmas Carol." The play will be showing at 7 p.m. today and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.
John F. Russell

— Hayden High School junior Ashley Otto stood backstage in the auditorium Wednesday, wearing a full frosted wedding gown and a red shawl. Her eyes were wide with excitement for opening night of "A Christmas Carol," which was just three days away.

On stage, senior Jake Rosen­dale was running through scenes as Ebenezer Scrooge, while three ghosts, including Otto as the Ghost of Christmas Present, take him on a journey about the holiday spirit.

"I'm not a sports person," Otto said with a smile. "With acting, you can realy be yourself while being another person."

The wonder of drama and the spirit of the classic holiday story captured her and 10 other Hayden School District students of all ages.

With a small cast, the group doubled and tripled up on parts, rehearsing every day after school since October to put on the show, which opens at 7 p.m. today.

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There will be a matinee at 1 p.m. Saturday and a closing performance at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $5 to $10 on a sliding scale. Donations also will be accepted.

This adapted version of the classic Charles Dickens story has a more humorous edge, director and Hayden teacher Sonia Salberg said.

The students "really get to use their imaginations and become these great characters," she said. "It pushes their limits, and it has a great message about what's really important in life."

She said the holiday story encourages humanitarianism and appreciation for friends and family at all times of year.

"We've got to care about all humans, and the perfect time to do that is Christmas," she said.

Her cast, however, didn't wait until the holiday season to warm up to one another.

"This cast, they get along really well, and they really care about one another," Salberg said. "It really is like being part of a team."

The cast includes young students, such as 7-year-old John Wagner, who plays Tiny Tim. Seventh-grader Dylan Reedy plays Bob Cratchit, old Joe and Fezziwig.

"I like the whole idea of it," Dylan said about "A Christmas Carol." "You've got this guy who doesn't like or celebrate Christmas, and it's great to see him throughout the story and watch him learn to appreciate what he's got."

The challenges almost are akin to what the drama department in Hayden had to go through to put on the production.

But they never shouted "bah humbug" as they worked concession stands at sports games in fall and accepted donations to help pay for costumes and props.

Otto's mother, Raelynn, donated hours of her time as the costume designer, sewing some pieces and searching local secondhand shops.

"This theater department is not big or rich," Ashley Otto said. "But I'm really happy with how this turned out."

Dylan, who said he hopes to remain part of the program throughout his middle and high school career, doesn't seem to mind the sparse resources.

"It's our job to make the show what it is," he said. "It's basically up to us."