As you know, or if you don’t know, I’ll tell you this: “The Velveteen Rabbit” play is a Christmas story.
Instead of camping outside stores just to get a good Black Friday price or something like that, come see this play. Rather than climbing up to your rooftop and sitting there waiting to see Santa, come see this play. Instead of kissing under the mistletoe, come see this play. You could have a nice refreshing drink of sparkling apple cider and have a belated Thanksgiving feast, but if I were you, I would rather come see this play.
If you go to “The Velveteen Rabbit,” you will have a better sense about love. The boy’s love for his rabbit is unstoppable.
At the beginning, the boy receives a velveteen rabbit. They play with each other, sleep with one other, and go everywhere together. The other toys make fun of the rabbit. But the rabbit doesn’t care for they are not real, and he is — or so he thinks.
One day, the boy becomes sick. The velveteen rabbit is worried. Suddenly, the grandmother takes the rabbit because he is full of germs. He is left to burn in a trash pile in the garden. (There might be a little magic that I have left out of the story. If you go, you will know.)
I went to the play and watched the show. Afterward, I went backstage and interviewed the actors and actresses:
Q: Is it easy to put on a show like ‘The Velveteen Rabbit?’
A: It’s easier for some of us because we’ve done it before. So Debbie, Dwayne, me and Jon have all done it many, many times over the years, but this is the first time that Eric and Kate and Kaleena have done it. So I’m guessing it was probably a little bit more difficult for them than it was for us. We kinda just remember stuff from past years, so it’s not as difficult.” -Katie McFadzen (The Velveteen Rabbit)
Q: Do you think the grandma was right to take the rabbit away from the boy?
A: In order to do her job she has to take away the velveteen bunny, and while she is sad that she has to do it, she has to look out for him. She wants him to be healthy. –Eric Boudreau (Nana)
Q: How does the rabbit feel when he is thrown into the trash?
A: He’s very sad. He says, ‘What use is it to be loved, and to lose my beauty and become real if it ends like this?’ He thinks it is all over. He thinks his life is over at that point. So, he is pretty sad.” –Katie McFadzen (The Velveteen Rabbit)
Q: I feel real when my mom cuddles with me at night. When do you feel real?
A: I think anytime I feel really happy, really sad, or really angry…because you feel really strong emotions. I think maybe that is when I feel the most real. –Debra K. Stevens (Narrator)
Q: What does the Skin Horse mean when he says, ‘Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby’?
A: Well, I think what he is trying to say is that the idea, for the velveteen rabbit and for him, their idea of being real is when the boy believes that they are real. And so they can only achieve that after a long time, where the boy is going to cuddle and hold you and tromp through the garden with you.” – Dwayne Hartford (Skin Horse)
Q: What do you think Margery Williams, the author of ‘The Velveteen Rabbit,’ meant when she wrote, ‘When you are real, you don’t mind being hurt’?
A: It’s an odd way to put it — that you don’t mind. It’s more that you are willing to put yourself at risk of being hurt in order to feel the joys. –Kate Haas (Nursery Fairy)
Q: When you are not rehearsing, what do you do for fun?
A: I’m in school, so I have to do my homework. –Kaleena Newman (Boy)
I don’t know what you like, but if you like oversized furniture and stuffed animals, you’ll enjoy The Velveteen Rabbit.
If you go
What: Childsplay celebrates the 25th anniversary of its holiday staging of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” an adaptation of Margery Williams’s classic picture book.
When: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22
Where: Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Cost: Tickets start at $15
Information: (480) 350-2822 or ChildsplayAZ.org
• This article was originally published as part of Childplay’s Kid Reporter program, in which local youngsters ages 7-12 write and post reviews. The reporters also get an exclusive backstage tour and interview with cast members. For more information, visit ChildsplayAZ.org.