by Tania Thompson
The Story Behind the Photo
The Velveteen Rabbit
For nearly a century, author Margery Williams’ beloved classic has captivated and charmed children and adults, alike. Lonely and forgotten, a stuffed rabbit longs to be real. When another toy is lost, he quickly becomes a little boy’s new favorite. As the rabbit’s dapper appearance gets worn and shabby from play, a wonderful change begins to happen. A moving story about the power of love—and a little bit of magic. SCR produced Janet Allard’s stage adaptation of the story.
Director Beth Lopes helmed South Coast Repertory’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit in 2019 (part of the Theatre for Young Audiences Family Series). The touching, timeless tale came vividly to life through the creative team that Lopes assembled and through the cast. Lopes selected the photo above as an important moment from the play.
What does this moment depict?
This is the final moment of the show. The Boy sees a familiar-looking rabbit in the woods and wonders if this rabbit could be his rabbit.
How did you work to make this moment happen?
Because this was the last time we were seeing these characters, it was very important to me to be able to clearly see both of their faces. Staging that was a bit tricky, though, because they're supposed to be looking at each other. We decided to put Velveteen behind the Boy, with them both looking out, to accomplish the task of seeing their expressions fully, but also to emphasize the distance that is now between them. And it was easier to see the Velveteen Rabbit if the Boy was on his knees (which also reinforces how small an actual rabbit would be!) and if Velveteen was off the ground a bit. Having our actress stand on the tree platform [toward the back of the stage] gave her some height and the gorgeous magical tree as a background.
What’s the power/depth/humor/other emotion about this moment?
I've always thought of this moment as a chance encounter with someone that you had been very close to at one point in your life. There might be an eye lock or a nod from a distance, but no real words need to be spoken. The Boy and Velveteen understand that they are on diverging paths from one another now, but they both can also recognize how formative they were for each other. It's a very bittersweet moment, encapsulating the beauty and pain of what it means to grow up.
What else would you like to say about the photo or The Velveteen Rabbit? This was one of my very favorite projects. I’m very grateful for the trip down memory lane!