Time is of the essence to save Christmas in Rattler Canyon.

Time is of the essence to save Christmas in Rattler Canyon.

But time isn't such a big deal to the cast performing "When Christmas Left Rattler Canyon," by the Showstoppers, the theater group at the E.L. Evans Center, 4330 Dudley Ave.

"We've got more time behind us than ahead of us," said Jay Huey, who plays Johnny the saloon owner.

Remembering how long the Showstoppers have been performing plays is a matter of time, as well.

"We don't know about time," said Carl Armbrust, who plays a card player. "We just let it go."

Showstoppers members decided that it's been more than 20 years since the acting troupe started.

The age range of the members is between 65 and 85 years old.

"We've been in several plays and we've always had packed houses," said Genny Cline, who plays one of the evil Ringo sisters.

"We're really big-time here," she said.

The 16-member cast will put on the 50-minute play at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3, in the Evans Center.

The story will take audience members to the Old West of the 1800s. Christmas is banned in Rattler Canyon when the mayor loses the deed to the town in a game of cards to Big Bad Ben. Ben hates Christmas, because he never knew his dad and his mother left him alone when he was little.

Since he owns the town, Big Bad Ben bans Christmas. Johnny the saloon owner asks the Lord for a sign to save Christmas.

Meanwhile, two out-of-towners, Joey and Marie, stop at the saloon for the night to rest. The saloon doesn't have any room, so the two end up staying out back in the barn. Marie is pregnant.

The townsfolk try to find a way to restore Christmas in Rattler Canyon, but Big Bad Ben says he'll only restore Christmas if a baby is born by sundown.

Following their performances, the Humdinger Rhythm Band will play a selection of country tunes. Cast members said the band plays a style of makeshift instruments, like the washboard.

The play's director, Adrian Jahn, has been directing for about five years and acting for 16. She said she prefers acting, but in order to keep Showstoppers plays going, she is willing to play the role of director.

"I have a good time," she said. "(Cast members) are so good, so faithful with practice. We have a great time."

Jahn said it's challenging to find a play that can accommodate the number of people in the troupe.

Judy Lewis, activity leader at the Evans Center, said the Showstoppers perform about two shows a year, one in the summer and one at Christmastime.

Admission to the show is free, but the Showstoppers request a donation or a nonperishable food item for the local food pantry.