By John L. Braese
JUNTURA – “I was scared.”
Those three words succinctly describe the feelings of the star, the performer, the lone actress who wowed the residents of Juntura during the school’s Christmas play held Dec. 20.
As the lone student at the Juntura Elementary School, sixth grade student Rebekah Joyce took the stage to perform all the parts in the school’s production of “The Christmas Box,” a story of losing something special and later getting it back.
The play was based on a 1993 book that also was the basis of a made-for-television holiday movie.
“This woman had a Christmas box that was special and went to a bazaar,” Joyce explained. “By mistake, the box was sold at the bazaar and the story is about her trying to find the box and buy it back because it meant so much to her. Finally, in the end, she gets it back.”
Joyce has been working on the performance since Thanksgiving, working each day with Juntura teacher Kathleen Schram. The teacher and student found the story online and decided to produce the play for the Juntura public.
Joyce played six characters in the performance of 20 minutes.
“I would just run into the back room and change into the next character,” she said. “Never in the play are two characters on the stage at the same time, so this worked for us.”
At one point, Joyce was Ivy, a young girl who took the Christmas box to a pawn shop in an attempt to sell it.
With a change of a gray wig and older clothing, Joyce said, she became Grandma Lillian, a “nice sweet grandma” who received the box for her birthday.
A quick change and Joyce became Miss Vanderhoff, a rich old lady in charge of the Christmas bazaars and a villain who refused to give the box back to the rightful owner.
Even as the play concluded its six acts, Joyce wasn’t done for the night.
Making a change again, Joyce joined her guitar teacher Anna Pozzi and performed a few songs on the school’s stage.
The crowd shifted to the town hall for a potluck dinner complete with small presents for the town’s star.
If the school chooses to have a spring performance, Joyce may have to give up some of the limelight.
“We are getting a first grader at the school after Christmas break,” she explained.