Hilliard Davidson High School drama students will go on an unexpected journey this weekend.
They will present a stage version of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy tale, The Hobbit, from Oct. 4-6.
"I chose The Hobbit because of both its familiarity and its current popularity," director Greg Kembitzky said.
The Hobbit most recently was adapted as a trilogy of feature films, the second of which opens in December.
"The story we tell on stage is a condensed version of the entire trilogy," Kembitzky said.
Senior Alexei Vallo portrays Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit the wizard Gandalf persuades to accompany a band of dwarves on a quest to recover stolen treasure.
Vallo said he was not familiar with The Hobbit before choosing to audition, but has since watched the first feature film released last December.
"Bilbo is so very used to the Shire, but Gandalf takes him out of his comfort zone and into the world," said Vallo, who first acted in a play as an eighth-grader. "I am having lot of fun becoming this character."
Senior Connor Attrell plays the role of Gandalf.
Like Vallo, Attrell was not familiar with the story before auditioning.
"I intended to audition for (the role of the dwarf Thorin), but after reading the script and the role, I thought (Gandalf) was a better fit," Attrell said.
Attrell tried out for his first play as a freshman and he credits theater with assisting him socially.
"Acting and being in theater has helped me open up and come out of my shell," Attrell said.
Other cast members include Garek Shoef as Thorin, Paul Beadles as Dwalin, Brooklyn Miller as Kili, Maria Mason as Fili, Nikki Tiffan as Balin, Lucy McTurner as Dori, Martha McTurner as Nori, Rick Isbell as Ori, Alex Hoet as Oin, Ethan Lowe as Gloin, Mike Faltas as Bifur, Katie Toledo as Bofur and Lydia Emch as Bombur.
Performances of The Hobbit are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Davidson performing arts center, 5100 Davidson Road.
Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door.