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Play by Beavertons Ray Hale opens this week

Orphan Train opens Friday at Hart Theatre in Hillsboro

A crowded train pulls out of London, and the sound of exploding bombs follows it into the English countryside. 'Orphan Train,' an original play by Beaverton's Ray Hale, puts us aboard that train.

It's Dec. 24, 1940, and 12 children are escaping the horrors of war. They're being relocated to foster homes that promise protection from the blitz. With songs, stories and dances, the children create a bit of joy on an otherwise cold and cheerless Christmas Eve.

In addition to writing the script, Hale also directed this production, which opens on Friday, Dec. 2, at HART Theatre in Hillsboro. 'I wouldn't call this a children's play, because it appeals to all ages,' Ray Hale says, 'but it may have a special meaning for children. If they are watching the news these days and are worried what war might mean to other children, this play will give them a bit of insight.'

Hale researched the play by interviewing Hillsboro resident Jenny Huston, who grew up in London and survived the bombardment of the blitz. Songs in the play include traditional English carols, popular Christmas tunes as well us an up-tempo dance number from the 1940s.

Orphan Train runs from Dec. 2 to 18, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and children.

HART Theatre is located at 185 S.E. Washington St. in Hillsboro, right off the MAX line.

For more information, visit HART's website, hart-theatre.org or call the box office at 503-693-7815.