The Story Behind the Photo: "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane"

Tania Thompson
 | Dec 17, 2020
Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Ann Noble in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2015, Theatre for Young Audiences). Photo by Debora Robinson.

The Story

Edward, a very large, very dapper china rabbit is given as a birthday present to 10-year-old Abilene, who loves him almost as much as Edward loves himself. But when he gets lost, Edward finds he has a lot to learn. He bounces from person to person until he finally discovers the transformative power of love.

Director Casey Stangl helmed The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2015, Theatre for Young Audiences Family​ Series). This touching story, adapted from the book by Kate DiCamillo, is about a ​large rabbit doll who goes on a fantastic journey and learns to love and be loved—and this is something Stangl believes people of all ages need to know. She selected the photo above as an important moment from the play.

  • What does this moment depict?

    Casey Stangl: In this photograph, in a scene near the beginning of the play, actor Ann Noble plays Abilene, a little girl who lovingly cares for her china doll, named Edward, and dresses him impeccably. But Edward doesn't appreciate his fortunate situation and doesn't pay any attention to the girl. I've directed nearly 10 Theatre for Young Audiences shows at SCR and Edward Tulane remains my favorite. It's a beautiful story and this very theatrical adaptation featured the actors playing multiple characters AND each played an instrument. 

  • How did you work to make this moment happen?

    CS: The amazing construction of seven Edward dolls and, in particular, the incredible costumes he wore, really sold the idea that Edward had feelings and he seemed almost human. Ann [Noble] and I talked about how lonely her child character is and how much she needs a friend and an ear. Edward's giant ears are perfect for her!

  • What’s the power/depth/humor/other emotion about this moment?

    CS: I love the juxtaposition in this scene of the young girl's innocence and need, contrasted by Edward being oblivious to her emotions. It beautifully sets up the journey of the play, and Edward learning how to love and be loved.

  • Anything else you’d like to say about the photo or the production?
    CS: The dolls weren’t puppets. Part of the story is how all of the characters project what they see and what they need onto Edward.  He learns through their suffering and joy.