The Velveteen Rabbit (Shelby Larson) snuggles with her boy (Noah Schmidt) during rehearsals for Kingsland's production of the classic children's story.
The Velveteen Rabbit (Shelby Larson) snuggles with her boy (Noah Schmidt) during rehearsals for Kingsland's production of the classic children's story.
They'll pretend so they can be "real."

Shelby Larson's whiskers will even wiggle, just a little.

"A lot of people are familiar with this story...if not, they may go out and buy the book. It's an all-around heartwarming story," said Kingsland one-act play director Tim Chappell, explaining that the students of the Kingsland drama department will bring the endearing story, "The Velveteen Rabbit," the tale of a little stuffed velveteen bunny who wanted to be "real," to the stage. Performances for the public are set this weekend in Wykoff while competition will take place later in January.

Chappell and the cast chose "The Velveteen Rabbit" because they felt "it would be nice to switch it up a bit from comedy to more of a 'loving' story that is good for all ages."

The cast features Larson as the velveteen rabbit, Jordan Pokorney as the skin horse and a narrator, Noah Schmidt as the boy and the boat, Lariah Fox as Nana and a bunny, Alex Campbell as the doctor and a mechanical toy, Josie Bellrichard as a narrator and a bunny, Morgan Sanford as an aunt and a bunny, Kiara Reichstadt as a narrator and a fairy, Stanley Juzwiak as an uncle, Colt Hamersma as a narrator, Josie Hinze as stage manager, Baylee Boley as an assistant stage manager, Logan Copeman as lights manager and Paige Webb as makeup and costumes manager.

"We have some people first time on stage, and we welcome them," Chappell stated. The family show offers a set that is "simple, but it adds deeper meaning to the areas of the stage," and the director noted that he feels that the costumes are what add the magic to the show, though "others may say it's the characters or the dialogue."

The students will present "The Velveteen Rabbit" at competitions this month, as well as this weekend. The students go to two competitions. The first is the Three Rivers on Jan. 18, and the second is the first round of the Minnesota State High School League competition on Jan. 23.

Rehearsals for "The Velveteen Rabbit" began before Halloween, and the students are up to the challenges of presenting it as a one-act play, such as the general issues of the timing of the play, following the rules at competition, and the matters of transportation of the set and working on actual characters and why they do what they do on the stage, Chappell explained.

"The cast has really come together as a family to bring that special connection from the stage to the audience," he said. "The show tells a wonderful story, like it would be while reading to your child before bed in a quick 25 to 30 minutes."

The director invited the public to make it a family event as all are welcome. The Kingsland drama department's one-act play cast will take the stage at the Kingsland Middle School old gymnasium in Wykoff Friday and Saturday, Jan. 10 and 11, at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 12, at 3 p.m.