• From Page to Stage: An Interview with Director Beth Lopes

    SCR Staff
     | May 10, 2019
    Beth Lopes

    Director Beth Lopes.

    Beth Lopes returns to South Coast Repertory after directing last season’s Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook. She is known all over the Los Angeles area for her imaginative productions—from the works of Shakespeare to new plays. Before rehearsals began for The Velveteen Rabbit (May 24-June 9, Argyros Stage)​—which she is directing—Lopes took some time to answer a few questions about how a director brings a play to life.

    What does a director do? 
    My go-to explanation for the role of the director is “the guide from page to stage.” Essentially, it is the director’s job to take the story of the script and translate it to a living, breathing onstage event.

    What was your path to becoming a director?
    I was a part of a spectacular drama program in high school that facilitated the upperclassmen directing one-acts with the freshmen. I knew then that directing was something I really loved doing, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized I wanted to do it as a career. I liked being an actor but I realized that I wasn't getting the same satisfaction at the end of a process as I did when I was directing. I loved being a part of the entire storytelling process.

    What drew you to The Velveteen Rabbit?
    The Velveteen Rabbit is actually one of my very favorite stories from childhood. My sister and I each had our own Velveteen Rabbit stuffed animal because we were incapable of sharing such a special friend. And then, only a few years ago, my husband and I were asked to read a section of the story at our dear friend’s wedding. I think The Velveteen Rabbit is so timeless because of the truly complex themes it examines. It’s definitely a story about friendship, but it’s also a story about growing up and loss and first love. And it isn’t always happy or funny but it’s hopefully one that sticks with you long after you experience it. The Velveteen Rabbit definitely stuck with me and remains near and dear to my heart.

    Can you describe a typical rehearsal day?
    On a normal day, I’ve planned out in advance the scenes on which we’ll be working. Sometimes we’ll need to figure out where the actors are moving in space. Sometimes we’ll be playing with a new costume or sound cue. And sometimes we’ll be running through what we’ve done thus far. Usually, I have a specific idea of the work I’d like to get done that day and a general idea of how we’ll accomplish that work. I say general because I always want to leave space for spontaneity with the collaborators in the room. You never know where the next great idea is going to come from and you have to be open to it popping up!

    Can you describe how a tech rehearsal brings the whole show together? 
    Tech rehearsals are when the magic of the rehearsal room is combined with the magic of our incredible designers. The world that the actors are imagining in rehearsal is fully realized in the form of lights, sound, costume and scenery. Of course, it takes time to make sure that the pieces are working together seamlessly, which is what tech rehearsals are all about!

    What is the difference between directing a children’s play and a play aimed at adults? Do you approach them any differently? 
    Fundamentally, no, I don’t approach them differently. I’m always trying to tell the story of the script in a way that will have the most resonance with the audience. That being said, when your audience is largely young people, you should take that into consideration. What I love about children is their willingness to imagine and participate in the world of theatre. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to engage with our audiences in a more direct way than might be possible with another kind of show.

    Do you have a favorite character or scene in The Velveteen Rabbit?
    This is cheating, but my favorites are the scenes surrounding the boy’s illness. Sometimes scary things happen in life and I think it’s incredibly brave to include those events in stories intended for children. I’m challenged and energized by the responsibility of presenting them in a way that’s truthful to the severity of the situation. By doing so, we can be that much more relieved on the other end. My hope is that by learning about pain, we’re all able to feel joy much more acutely.

    Learn more about The Velveteen Rabbit and buy tickets.

  • A Lasting Butterfly

    Andy Knight
     | May 06, 2019

    M. Butterfly Logo


    Playwright David Henry Hwang


    ​Former French embassy employee Bernard Boursicot faces the judge as his and Shi Pei Pu trial begins in Paris, May 5, 1986.


    ​Chinese opera singer Shi Pei Pu, before 1960.


    John Lithgow and BD Wong in the 1988 Broadway production of M. Butterfly.

    David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly begins in a Paris prison in 1986. There, in a secluded cell, Rene Gallimard serves out his sentence for treason. Gallimard, a former civil servant, is no ordinary prisoner, however—he’s an international celebrity; his name is in all the papers, and he’s the talk of the chicest parties. But it’s not his acts of espionage that the world is discussing. Instead, it’s his 20-year romance with Song Liling, a Chinese opera star, whom Gallimard calls “the Perfect Woman.”

    Night after night, Gallimard replays the story of his love affair in his head, trying to piece together the details, with the hope that the ending might somehow change. His story begins as a boy of 12 years old—on the night he first saw Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly. The experience was a formative one for Gallimard, for it was then and there that he came to know the feminine ideal—the opera’s fragile but brave heroine, Cio-Cio-San. Cio-Cio-San is the Japanese wife of the scoundrel Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton of the U.S. Navy. She’s exotic, faithful and willing to sacrifice her life for a man who’s unworthy of her love. For the 12-year-old Gallimard, a romantic at heart, Cio-Cio-San represents what all men deserve: a butterfly ready to be caught and kept.

    Years later, in 1964, Gallimard, now a married 29-year-old junior-level diplomat in China, once again experiences the beautiful tragedy of Puccini’s Butterfly. But this time, more than the story bewitches him. For on that night, he meets Song Liling, the Chinese opera singer performing the title role. To Gallimard, Song is a “Butterfly with little or no voice,” and yet he still wishes that he could “protect her, take her home, pamper her, ease her pain.” Gallimard is smitten.

    However, Gallimard soon learns that Song is not who he thinks she is. After he attends her performance at the Beijing Opera, she comes out of her dressing room in the clothes of a man. Song’s performances in women’s roles have blinded Gallimard to the truth—Mademoiselle Song is, in fact, Monsieur Song. Instead of a lover, Gallimard must settle for a friend.

    But with nothing to gain from a friendship with a Chinese man, Gallimard quickly becomes distant. Sensing the void growing between them, Song finally tells Gallimard his biggest secret: Song is a woman. Her mother had already given birth to three girls by the time Song was born, and her father was prepared to take another wife if the next child was not a boy. What other choice did her mother have but to pretend that Song was a boy? And now it’s too late to live any other way; communist China would never forgive the deception.

    Despite the sad reality of Song’s situation, Gallimard is thrilled that their love affair can finally begin. Here is the Butterfly who trusts him with all her secrets, who trusts him with her very life. Song is the woman he’s been waiting for since he was 12 years old. He would do anything for her. And as if winning Song wasn’t enough, Gallimard’s career takes a sudden and promising turn when he’s promoted to vice-consul.

    But like all good luck, Gallimard’s proves temporary, and by the mid-1970s, his life is crumbling around him. But nothing can prepare him for what’s next. For soon, Gallimard will take his greatest fall—and be forced to face the ultimate truth.

    Playwright David Henry Hwang was first inspired to write M. Butterfly in the mid-1980s, after reading a short column in The New York Times about the real-life relationship between a French Embassy employee named Bernard Boursicot and a Chinese opera singer named Shi Pei Pu—a love affair that ended in espionage charges for both parties and a particularly public scandal surrounding their relationship. Hwang was intrigued by not only the story of romance and espionage, but also the questions it raised about geopolitics, race and gender. But since this was pre-Internet, Hwang notes, “I essentially made everything up, which worked out quite well.” Indeed it did. M. Butterfly opened on Broadway in 1988 to much success—and would go on to be a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and win the Tony Award for Best Play.

    Thirty years ago, Broadway audiences were introduced to not only a contemporary story about a love affair set in China (during the regime of communist leader Mao Zedong, who had died only 10 years earlier), but also conversations about the relationship between East and West, frank conversations that had rarely been featured in New York’s commercial theatre. For in M. Butterfly, Hwang scrutinizes orientalism—that is, the fetishizing of Asian culture from a Western, colonial perspective—as well as the ways in which leaning into cultural stereotypes can be used to manipulate and amass power. And in doing so, the play takes on gender, too, pulling apart the stereotypes of the “feminine East” and the “masculine West.” But these larger thematic explorations are only part of the play’s enduring brilliance. After all, it’s Hwang’s characters that give the play its life—chiefly the tortured Rene Gallimard and the enigmatic Song Liling. They’re rich, meaty roles that many actors hope to tackle at some point in their careers.

    Not long after its original Broadway run, productions of M. Butterfly began to play at theatres across the country—and, later, across the world. In 2017, M. Butterfly received its first Broadway revival, under the direction of Julie Taymor (director of Broadway’s The Lion King and the film Across the Universe). For the revival, Hwang made significant changes to the text—reworking the play’s meditation on the fluidity of identity and gender and bringing even more balance to the Eastern and Western perspectives represented in the story. As he was rewriting, Hwang also looked back at the real-life events that inspired the piece—about which much more information can be easily found today—and discovered that the true story aligned nicely with the new direction his play was taking. And so, while the revised version of M. Butterfly is still far from a docudrama, it’s tied to history more faithfully than the original.

    South Coast Repertory’s production of M. Butterfly is directed by Desdemona Chiang, who makes her SCR debut this season. To Chiang, Hwang’s play is about “the allure of exceptionalism and the lengths a person will go to achieve and preserve it.” But it’s perhaps M. Butterfly’s unexpected timeliness that makes the opportunity so irresistible to her. “For a while, I kept asking myself why I was directing this play in 2019,” Chiang says. “I wholeheartedly agree that this play is a kind of love story, but it is also a warning to those who are willfully ignorant to the totality of the world they live in….As society becomes more interconnected, intersectional and, yes, complicated, we cannot afford to persist in self-affirming confirmation bias where we refuse to see the whole picture.”

    Like all lasting period pieces, M. Butterfly promises to challenge audiences who watch the play through a contemporary lens. But it also promises to intrigue them, to delight them and to ultimately move them.

    Meet the Cast.

    Learn more about M. Butterfly and buy tickets.

  • "The Velveteen Rabbit": About the Playwright and Book Author

    SCR Staff
     | May 06, 2019

    Velveteen Rabbit Logo type

    Adaptations of The Velveteen Rabbit

    It’s not surprising that Margery Williams’ beloved 1922 book has been adapted many times. Here are some notable interpretations of the story:

    1973: The classic, 19-minute-long film won several awards and has been acclaimed by parents and teachers worldwide.

    1985: Meryl Streep narrated a Random House video recording that received a Parents’ Choice Award. George Winston composed the soundtrack.

    1985: Christopher Plummer narrated a Canadian version of The Velveteen Rabbit, which aired on HBO in the United States.

    2003: Xyzoo animation adapted the story into a clay-animated film.

    2007: Horse Fly Studios released a live-action adaptation that was nominated for two Young Artists Awards.

    We’re excited for our final show of the Theatre for Young Audiences Series for 2018-19, the beloved classic The Velveteen Rabbit (May 24-June 9, Julianne Argyros Stage). The show that you'll see originated as a book by Margery Williams in 1922 and was later adapted for the stage by Janet Allard.

    Margery Williams

    Book author Margery Williams Bianco was born in London in 1881. At the age of nine, she moved to the United States, and alternated between living in England and America for the rest of her life. She became a professional writer at the age of 19 and had her first novel published when she was 21. In 1922, she began writing for children. The Velveteen Rabbit was the first, and best known, of her 30 children’s books. In 1937, she won a Newbery Award for Winterbound, a novel about Depression-era children who survive by using their own wits and abilities. She spent her final years in Greenwich Village in New York and died there in 1944.

    Janet Allard

    Playwright Janet Allard was born and raised in Hawaii. Her work has been seen at The Guthrie Lab, The Kennedy Center, Mixed Blood, Playwrights Horizons, Yale Rep, The Yale Cabaret, The Women's Project, Perseverance Theatre, Joe’s Pub, Barrington Stage, with P73 Productions and internationally in Ireland, England, Greece, Australia and New Zealand. She is the recipient of two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow in New Zealand and the South Pacific. She holds an M.F.A in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, has studied at the NYU Musical Theatre Writing program and teaches at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

    Check out our classroom study guide for the play.

    Learn more about The Velveteen Rabbit and buy tickets.

  • Meet the Cast of "M. Butterfly"

    Tania Thompson
     | Apr 30, 2019
    The Cast of M. Butterfly

    THE CAST: Aaron Blakely, Juliana Hansen, Jake Manabat, Lucas Verbrugghe, Nike Doukas and Stephen Caffrey in ​M. Butterfly. Not pictured: Melody Butiu.

    The cast of M. Butterfly (May 11-June 8, Segerstrom Stage) brings a wealth of experience to David Henry Hwang’s multi-award-winning play. Several are veteran SCR actors, others have been in national tours for shows like Rent, Once, and seen on Broadway in Doctor Zhivago and The Ritz​. One actor has been in three prior productions of M. Butterfly including the 2017 Broadway revival and others are making their SCR debuts.


    Lucas Verbrugghe
    My character is Rene Gallimard. He is a French diplomat who grew up, like many men, being told what a man should be: dominant, adventurous; someone who doesn't take “no” for an answer. But those things don’t seem to come easily to him and he struggles to find his place in the world.
    At SCR, I’m making my debut.
    My other credits include Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Ritz (both on Broadway); An Entomologist’s Love Story; Icebergs; Need to Know; Love’s Labour’s Lost; Macbeth; Our Idiot Brother; “Ten Days in the Valley;” “Grimm;” “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU.”
    I’m excited to be in M. Butterfly because, even though it was written in 1986, it still resonates strongly today. And with David Henry Hwang’s new draft, the play hits different notes than it did 30 years ago. I’m excited to work on this new production that has an eye toward gender and feels fresher today than ever.
    My favorite opera is ... I’ve only seen one opera in my life—Prokofiev’s The Gambler at the Met in New York City. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t understand what was happening. The stage was covered in green felt and looked like a poker table. I left at intermission.
    Three words that describe me are Stop. Smell. Flowers. I have come to realize that, as I move through life, that I like to take my time with things. I like to process, marinate and sometimes stew over things. The sense of smell is important for me because it quickly takes me to memories and triggers my imagination. Roasting meat, paint thinner, manure, sea air. Flowers. Because, you know, who doesn’t like flowers?!


    Jake Manabat
    My character is Song Liling who, without revealing too much of the plot, is a Chinese opera star. Song has a forbidden relationship with a French diplomat.
    At SCR, I’m making my debut.
    My other credits include the Broadway revival of M. Butterfly as Song understudy; M. Butterfly (Capital Repertory Theatre); M. Butterfly (The Production Company); Crane Story; Paper Dolls; The Long Season; “Madam Secretary;” “Bored to Death;” “Lilyhammer;” and “The Neighborhood.”
    I’m excited to be in M. Butterfly to see what’s going to be born! Desdemona’s (Chiang, director) creative process with this talented and inquisitive cast has been deeply invigorating.
    Three words that describe me are “No regrets.” Haha! That’s only two, but those are the two words that my twin brother and I have lived by since we were kids. When I die, I want to have no regrets.
    Audiences after the show, I hope an audience member might think about what they would, ultimately, do for love.


    Aaron Blakely
    My characters are Marc, Pinkerton and I’m in the ensemble. Marc is an over-sexed, archetypal representation of masculine French culture and is a friend of Gallimard's from his youth. He's the lode stone for many of Gallimard's decisions concerning how he will be perceived and how he should proceed with Song. He's generous and cares for Gallimard's welfare, to a point.
    My last appearance at SCR was How to Write a New Book for the Bible.
    My other credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Photograph 51; Clybourne Park; Sense and Sensibility; The Lion in Winter; We Need to Talk About Kevin; “Z Nation;” “Grimm;” “The Librarians;” “Leverage;” and “The Man in the High Castle.”
    I’m excited to be in M. Butterfly and work with this world-class artistic team.
    My favorite opera is Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The Russian Romantics do it for me!
    Three words that describe me are insistent; dual; and sentimental. I can only say that these are the best, without revealing too much. I guess that means my fourth word would be: private.
    Audiences after the show, I hope audiences will walk away identifying with the love that the main characters have for each other.


    Melody Butiu
    My character is Comrade Chin and I’m also in the ensemble. Chin is a member of the Red Guard Communist Army, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I am the handler of Song Liling and serve as a liaison to my superiors in the Chinese Government. I am a fervent supporter of Chairman Mao and the Community Party.
    My SCR credits include Sheepdog; Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience; A Christmas Carol; Shipwrecked! An Entertainment; Ivy+ Bean: The Musical; and Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells.
    My other credits include Doctor Zhivago (Broadway); Here Lies Love (off-Broadway); Vietgone; Merrily We Roll Along; Sunday in the Park with George; Monstress; Helen; A Little Night Music; Golden Child; Hair; “The Kominsky Method;” “Modern Family;” “Gotham; “NCIS;” and “NCIS: LA.”
    I’m excited to be in M. Butterfly to see how our cast and this production explore the complexities of gender and perception, the Western gaze on the Asian female and the notion of truth—and how slippery it can be. I’m also excited about the costumes—Song’s costumes.
    My favorite opera? Well, I haven’t had the opportunity to see classic operas. But I have performed in modern operas with O-Lan Jones’ Overtone Industries including The Woman Who Forgot Her Sweater and Songs and Dances in Imaginary Lands. I also did a recent workshop for an exciting new opera called Iceland: The Hidden World.”
    Three words that describe me are passionate (I feel very deeply, wear my heart on my sleeve and I have a full-throated laugh); thoughtful (I do my best to be mindful, to think things through, which sometimes leads to overthinking); and forgiving (I know that life can get messy and complicated, but I try to see things from different perspectives  and accept where I am and where others are).
    Audiences after the show, I hope, will want to examine their own blind spots. We all have them, whether in our personal day-to-day lives or in how we perceive the world around us. I hope they’ll examine the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, who we should be, how the world works, what people think of us—these all shape everything in our lives—and yet they are just stories. Cracking open the myths we tell ourselves, shifting those stories, can have a profound effect on the world around us.


    Stephen Caffrey
    My characters are
    Toulon, Judge, Sharpless and I’m in the ensemble. Toulon is a kindhearted diplomat, but he is a survivalist. The buck doesn’t stop at his desk; it gets passed right along.
    My SCR credits include SHREW!; Shakespeare in Love and Bach at Leipzig.
    My other credits include Yes, Prime Minister; The Seafarer; 36 Views; Red; One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Galileo; Heartbreak House; Henry IV; All’s Well That Ends Well; Longtime Companion; Cinema Verite; “NCIS;” “All My Children; and “Tour of Duty.”
    I’m excited for M. Butterfly because it brought me back here and this is a very important play.
    My favorite opera is Lakme (by Léo Delibes) because of its beautiful “Flower Duet.”


    Nike Doukas
    My character is Agnes and I’m in the ensemble. Agnes is Gallimard’s wife. She’s the daughter of an ambassador, so she’s very much at home in the life of a diplomat. She’s a great support system for her husband. She’s more than a bit dismissive of China and its people.
    My SCR credits include Sense and Sensibility; All the Way; Yoga Play; The Prince of Atlantis; Major Barbara; Much Ado About Nothing; The Beard of Avon; and Blithe Spirit.
    My other credits include Three Days in the Country; The Hothouse (as director at The Antaeus Company); and “Desperate Housewives.”
    I’m excited to be in M. Butterfly because of the way that Desdemona (Chiang, director) and the designers are telling the story visually. This play takes place in the mind of Gallimard and in various locations and over decades. There’s Chinese opera, there’s post-revolution dance, there’s the French diplomatic scene—and all of this is evocative stuff and all quite beautiful.
    My favorite opera is Madame Butterfly by Puccini. I saw the production directed by Anthony Minghella and found it so imaginatively theatrical and incredibly moving. And, of course, Puccini’s music is gorgeous!
    Three words that describe me are Fully. Completely. Engaged. How I feel about life right now.
    Audiences after the show, I hope, will have conversations about what love is, in all its permutations.


    Juliana Hansen
    My characters
    are Renee, the Pinup Girl and I’m in the ensemble. Renee is a college student, studying Chinese, who meets Gallimard at an Embassy party. She’s smart, forward and intrigued by him. The Pinup Girl is from Gallimard’s childhood—she’s heightened reality and super fun!
    My last appearance at SCR was Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Johanna).
    My other credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie (first national tour); Mary Poppins; Les Misérables; The Fantasticks; Here; “Star vs. The Forces of Evil;” “Unkitty;” and Toy Story 4.
    I’m excited to be in M. Butterfly because it’s a provocative play and different from the kind of roles and projects I’m usually cast in. It’s really thrilling to expand my repertoire and be a part of something so deeply stirring.
    My favorite opera is …. I wish I could say I had one! But I prefer ballet and am a huge fan of Matthew Bourne!
    If I described myself in three words, I’d say drive (I do what it takes to make my dreams reality); heart (I have a huge capacity to love, and human relationship means more to me than anything else); and full-time/part-time (oh, that’s more than one word. But I’m a full-full-time actor, part-time voice teacher; part-time Disney performer and I’m back in school studying psychology!)

    Dancers and Ensemble Members
    All are making their SCR debuts

    • Annika Alejo
    • Yoko Hasebe
    • Andres Lagang
    • Sophy Zhao

    Learn more about M. Butterfly and buy tickets.

  • A Classic Story Comes to the Stage: "The Velveteen Rabbit"

    Kat Zukaitis and Marcus Beebe
     | Apr 29, 2019

    Velveteen Rabbit Logo type

    Velveteen Rabbit Book Cover

    ​Cover art for The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, first published in 1922

    South Coast Repertory's final show of the Theatre for Young Audiences Series for 2018-19 is the beloved tale of The Velveteen Rabbit (May 24-June 9)Written in 1922 by Margery Williams, with illustrations by William Nicholson, the tale of the stuffed bunny toy became an instant and enduring part of family literature. If it's been awhile since you and your family read the book, here's a story refresher from SCR's literary staff.

    The Velveteen Rabbit opens on Christmas morning, with the Velveteen Rabbit stuffed into a stocking as a gift for a young Boy. Velveteen is a beautiful brown and white spotted toy rabbit, with threaded whiskers, and ears lined with pink sateen. The Boy is excited when he sees the Velveteen Rabbit, but soon discards him to play with the other gifts he has received.

    Once they are alone, the other toys come over to inspect the Velveteen Rabbit. They make fun of him for his simple, plain construction: he is soft and made of imitation velvet, isn’t built to scale and is stuffed with sawdust. That night, he meets the Skin Horse, who comforts the Velveteen Rabbit. The Skin Horse belonged to the Boy’s uncle, long ago, and is the oldest and wisest toy in the nursery. He tells the Rabbit not to pay attention to the other toys, for they will never become real. A toy only becomes real when a child loves them for a long time. They will become worn out in the process and it may hurt, but being real lasts forever. The Boy’s uncle made the Skin Horse real, and the Velveteen Rabbit wishes to become real someday.

    The Boy’s caretaker, Nana, comes in to tidy up the nursery and put the Boy to bed. She cannot find the Boy’s favorite toy, a china dog, so the Boy picks the Velveteen Rabbit to sleep with instead. The Velveteen Rabbit does not like sleeping with the Boy at first, because the Boy holds him very tight, rolls over him, and buries him in under his pillow.

    Soon, however, the Velveteen Rabbit grows to love the Boy’s company, for they go on epic adventures together: they imagine games in which they climb Mount Kilimanjaro, swim through the Nile and discover buried treasure. They tell each other secrets and snuggle together in the evenings. The other toys make fun of the Velveteen Rabbit for how shabby he has become, but he doesn’t care. The Boy loves him and tells him that he’s real.

    One summer day, the Boy leaves the Velveteen Rabbit alone in the garden. Two rabbits pop out of the bushes and want to play with the Velveteen Rabbit, but they notice something different about him. He looks like the rabbits, but he can’t move or play like them, even though he wants to. The rabbits say he isn’t real and run away. Velveteen is left alone for a bit until Boy comes back to take him home.

    As the weeks pass, the Velveteen Rabbit grows shabbier and shabbier, but the Boy loves him more and more. When Nana tries to throw out the Velveteen Rabbit along with the Boy’s other old toys, the Boy fights to keep him.

    One day, the Boy grows very sick with scarlet fever, a serious illness. The Velveteen Rabbit keeps the Boy company during his illness and tries to cheer him up and keep him cool. When the Boy finally begins to recover, they overhear Nana and the Doctor planning a trip to the seaside with the Boy—but they also overhear the Doctor’s instructions to burn all of the Boy’s toys, which have been infected with scarlet fever. The Boy tries to hide the Velveteen Rabbit, but Nana discovers him buried in the bed sheets, and gives him to the Gardener to be burned the next morning along with the rubbish.

    When the Boy gets ready for bed that evening, he asks Nana to bring him his old rabbit. She explains that the Velveteen Rabbit is infected and can’t come back, and tells the Boy that he needs to let him go. She gives the Boy a new stuffed rabbit to sleep with that night. Meanwhile, waiting on the rubbish pile to be burned, the Velveteen Rabbit remembers his days with the Boy and the Skin Horse and cries a single tear.

    From the Velveteen Rabbit’s tear, a flower blossoms and a fairy pops out. The fairy tells the Velveteen Rabbit that she takes care of all the toys that children have loved but don’t need anymore. She explains that she will make the Velveteen Rabbit real: he was already real to the Boy, because he loved him, but now he will be real to the whole world. She takes the Velveteen Rabbit into the woods where, he discovers, to his delight, that he has real hind legs, and can run and jump! He runs off to find a new home with the other rabbits.

    The next spring, the Boy is playing outside and sees a rabbit that looks familiar. He does not realize that it is indeed his own Velveteen Rabbit, who has come back to look at the child that helped him to become real.

    Check out our classroom study guide for the play.

    Learn more about The Velveteen Rabbit and purchase tickets.