It’s easy to see why Abby Baker and Kyle Stahl were cast in this year’s Belfry Theatre Christmas production.
Baker, an 11-year-old Central Middle School student, is well-spoken, poised and charismatic. Stahl, a seven-year-old George Jay Elementary school student, is quirky, upbeat and even more loud than his curly red hair and freckled face.
The duo play siblings Belinda and her younger brother Tiny Tim, among a number of other smaller roles, in the holiday classic A Christmas Carol.
Originally a book written by Charles Dickens in 1843, the adaptation features Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Tom McBeath), who is visited by the Spirits of Christmases past, present and future, they soften his heart and make him truly see the world around him.
It’s a play that is a welcomed challenge for the young actors, who had to balance the intense rehearsal schedule with the 14-member cast with school and other activities.
“I’m feeling ready. I like being on stage. I like doing something in front of an audience,” said Baker, who has experience acting in other school plays. “It’s just fun to know about different characters.”
Stahl said he enjoys transforming into other people on stage.
“What I like about acting is that is has opportunity and has lots of things for you to remember and you get to do so many fun things. You can get someone really mad when they don’t even mean it. It’s really fun,” he said, adding he’s not nervous, but excited to hit the stage in front of the 279-person audience. “It’s like saying mean things when you don’t actually mean it.”
While there were others to audition for the roles, director Michael Shamata said the youngsters were the perfect fit to play Belinda and Tiny Tim.
“They’re both real kids. They’re not showbiz types,” said Shamata, who has directed several plays at the Belfry. “They also seemed excited which is important for someone of that age that they have a sense of what they’re getting involved in and it’s something that means something to them.”
After the play, the two hope to continue acting as a hobby.
A Christmas Carol is recommended for children ages six and up and runs approximately two hours, including one 15-minute intermission. Tickets range from $24 to $53 and is on until Dec. 20.