The Velveteen Rabbit
Today, Lindsey recommends heading to The Velveteen Rabbit this upcoming weekend:
My 9-year-old daughter re-read the Velveteen Rabbit aloud to me and to her 6-year-old brother as we drove into Boston to attend the Boston Children's Theater (BCT) performance of the story. It was wonderful to revisit it, though it wasn't entirely necessary, because Burgess Clark's adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit is faithful to the story, beautifully paced, and clear to understand for audiences of all ages. The Velveteen Rabbit kicks off the BCT's 60th season, which features four other shows. Two of those are world premieres, and taken together, the five shows represent a wide range of subject matter and style and appeal to children from pre-K through high school.
The BCT's production of The Velveteen Rabbit blends puppetry and live acting in a compelling, magical way. The puppets contribute to the general atmosphere of wonder that pervaded the theater. I've never been in a room with so many small children that was consistently quiet for two 30-minute segments (the play has one 10-minute intermission). My children were spellbound by the play, laughing out loud at certain moments and watching in silent awe at others. The play is just the right length for its young audience, and keeps moving while never losing the particular enchantment that makes the book so beloved.
After the show, the actors all came out on the stage and participated in an informal Q&A session. The questions focused on how the puppet toys (the Velveteen Rabbit, the Skin Horse, the boat, tin soldier, and toy lion) moved and on how the few special effects worked. The BCT's Executive Producer, Toby Schine, was an amiable and welcoming host who led the Q&A. My children, on the older side in the audience, were captivated by the fact that some of the actors were almost the same age as they are. The child actors were visibly confident and proud of their participation, and it was easy to see the ways in which the BCT contributes to self-esteem and feelings of mastery for children.
The Velveteen Rabbit is playing at the Boston Center for the Arts, at 539 Tremont Street, and there are three shows remaining (one on Saturday the 17th and two on Sunday the 18th). I highly recommend the show for children of all ages, but particularly those under 9 or 10. Tickets can be purchased on the BCT website or by calling the box office at 617-424-6634 x222.