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The Velveteen Rabbit (center, played by Noah Malde) is rescued from being being burned by the nursery magic fairies, played by Hannah Morgan (left) and Madison Price (right) during Wednesday's dress rehearsal of "The Velveteen Rabbit" at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre. The part of the Velveteen Rabbit also was played by Jamison Gross. (Candy DenOuden/Republic)

Velveteen Rabbit opens Friday

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As if children weren't bouncy enough, try directing a play where many of the cast members are rabbits.

Brianna Sejnoha and Alison Day balance giving stage directions with just getting their cast members to maintain a silent, seated position.

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"You want to take the audience to a different world," Brianna Sejnoha said to her cast during Wednesday's dress rehearsal at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre.

The Mitchell Area Community Theatre's children's production, "The Velveteen Rabbit," opens at 7:30 Friday at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre. Additional performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5, available at the ACT box office at 996-9137.

"The Velveteen Rabbit" tells the story of a stuffed rabbit given as a gift to a little boy, and the toy's quest to become "real." It is based on the children's novel by Margery Williams.

This is the third year co-directing the children's play for Sejnoha and Day, who are both spending their summer break from Augustana College in their hometown of Mitchell. Linda McEntee is a volunteer mentor for the two directors.

Each year, they said they try to add something new to the mix; this year, that meant directing their first full-fledged musical. It was more of an undertaking than they planned, Day and Sejnoha said.

"It's just taken a lot more time," Day said.

The play has also attracted some new faces on the stage. Erikka Steidl, 10, plays one of the toys. She said it's been fun, but she is a little nervous about "messing up" on show night.

Mary Baltzer, 11, on the other hand, said even though she's new to the ACT stage, she's been in enough other plays, so she is less nervous. Baltzer plays the part of one of the "skin horses."

"I'm pretty excited," she said. "I just practice a lot and ... it's something I like to do."

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