magiFeather file photo

Left, Nicole Hudecek, and right, Aaron DeWolf, star as Della and Jim in the “Gift of the Magi” production.

With just one week until Christmas break, the drama department has prepared a special Christmas play, “The Gift of the Magi” to kick off the holidays. The choral, instrumental and drama groups will combine to perform a Christmas program, Dec. 8.

The story centers around Jim and Della, a struggling married couple who is faced with the challenge of buying Christmas gifts with their limited funds.

Drama teacher, Susan Ainley prepares the play and its production.

“This year the play will be shown on three platforms on the floor of the auditorium instead of onstage,” Ainley said. “This approach gives the audience the feeling of austerity and hopelessness that Jim and Della experience. The Gift of the Magi was the first play I directed here at FC. I choose it because it was simple and lovely, a ‘gift’ for the audience.”

Senior and six-year drama student Caitlin Gaines, participates once again, playing the lead role as Della.

“I did this show three years ago, during my freshman year,” Gaines said. “I was a narrator and a shopkeeper. It?s really interesting to do this show again my senior year, but as the lead this time.

“This year’s performance is slightly different,” Gaines continued, “we have a new set of actors and a different set, so it all makes the show fresh and new. Playing Della has been fun, because I remember watching in awe as alumnus, Kenna Wheeler, played this role the last time we did it, and now I get to perform my own take on this character.”

The junior high and high school choral groups will sing five songs that are placed in breaks of the play’s action during the program. The choir will sing “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen” and the ladies ensemble will sing “Love Came Down on Christmas”.

Band teacher, Lesley Bannister, will conduct the instrumental groups, Eagle band, jazz band and percussion ensemble before and after the program, as well as intermission.

“I have decided to include choral and band groups to expand the play and make it a more of a full program,” Ainley said. “The choirs will sing both secular and sacred pieces. I have directed many plays before that were far more difficult, the simplicity and loveliness of this story remains a favorite for me.”

First year drama student, Nicole Hudecek, stars as Madame Vodskaya who is a Russian countess that cuts Della’s hair to sell.

“I have been in drama but this is my first year actually in the class at school,” Hudecek said. “I have been in productions in middle school including Fiddler on the Roof, Suessical the Musical and Music Man. I am both nervous and excited, I speak with an Russian accent; so remembering to enunciate while trying to project my lines is difficult. This story is not just romantic, but its about a love that Jesus teaches us. To love someone so much you’d give up something meaningful for them; it fits well with the spirit of Christmas.”

Senior Aaron DeWolf, acts as Jim who is a poor accountant’s clerk and struggles to provide for his newly wed wife.

“It is my first high school drama production,” DeWolf said. “I have the lead male role, and that?s not an easy thing to do in your first year at a high level. I was in drama in fifth grade with Mrs. Ainley as my teacher, back then I had terrible stage fright. Over the years, I have spoke in front of crowds for student leadership, overtime I became very comfortable in front of an audience. I recommend that you come out and see what else the school excels at other than athletics and academics, you won’t be disappointed.”

Sophomore Elizabeth Baker, switches from being apart of drama to a viewer in the audience.

“This year instead of being on the stage I can enjoy the play by being in the audience,” Baker said. “I love Christmas plays because they excite me for the winter season; I am also coming to support my best friend, Summer McGrew. Students should come to see their drama team show off what they can do, this play will be very entertaining.”

The play will begin at 7 p.m. in the Student Ministries Center (Ground Zero); there will be no admission fee.

For more news, read the Dec. 4 article, BREAKING: Feather receives CSPA critique: Gold Medalist.