Elmwood’s “Velveteen Rabbit” Featured in Rivertown Magazine
Rivertown Magazine has published a wonderful article about Elmwood’s upcoming family production of “The Velveteen Rabbit.” It’s on page 63 of the November 2016 issue and can be accessed at http://www.rivertownmagazine.com/featured-article/ or at the link below. Please share the news about this magical, enchanting production!
The full text of the article is as follows:
Elmwood Playhouse, conveniently located in downtown Nyack, New York, will be presenting an enchanting holiday play, The Velveteen Rabbit, adapted by James Still from the beloved story of Margery Williams about a toy rabbit who wants to become real. The play is perfect for young children—ages 4 and up—with enough humor and action to keep older children and adults entertained.
The story involves a boy, Steve, who idolizes his much-older brother, but is largely disregarded by him. So the boy becomes great friends with his stuffed toy rabbit, the Velveteen Rabbit, and they go on many adventures together. The Velveteen Rabbit, who can’t hop because he’s a stuffed toy, is taunted by the more modern battery-driven toys as being “a sack of sawdust” and by real rabbits because he’s not real. He takes solace and advice from the older brother’s old and now-discarded toy rocking-horse. Adversity strikes—but to go into details would give away too much. The play involves both The Velveteen Rabbit’s efforts to become real and the budding relationship between Steve and his brother.
In this production, which is set in modern times, the human being characters and the toys will be played by human actors, with the story assisted by shadow puppetry; but the real rabbits and the magic fairy will be performed by puppets in the Japanese Bunraku style. Bunraku puppets are life-sized, or nearly life-sized, and are carried and controlled by puppeteers, usually wearing black, who control the puppets both by rods and direct manipulation. Unlike the traditional Japanese Bunraku puppets, only one puppeteer will direct the movements of each puppet. This is a style that was adapted for the puppetry in the Broadway musical, Avenue Q.
In the attached photographs, actors Emma Lawrence, Kimberly Hawkey, and Emily Barnes auditioned for roles using unfinished puppets, which will be developed further, including the application of fur, and will be used in the actual production.
The play will be directed by Elmwood veteran, Derek Tarson, with the puppets and production elements designed by Jennie Marino, also an Elmwood veteran, who has creatively designed and producted custom crafted properties and effects for theatre, film, broadcast, and industry for over twenty years, and who has worked on over 45 Broadway shows. A sample of her work can be seen on her website, http://www.jenniemarino.com.
The play will run approximately 55 minutes, making it the perfect length for young children. There will only be ten performances, running between December 9, 2016 and December 18, 2016 on Friday evenings at 7:00, and two performances on each Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. For tickets, call Elmwood’s box office at (845) 353-1313 or visit https://www.elmwoodplayhouse.com.