San Antonio children's theater adapts timeless children's book for the holidays
Of the many stories that reside in our memories long after they’re told, few if any match the mysterious longevity of The Velveteen Rabbit. The story by Margery Williams has been lauded and adapted in too many places to keep track, but perhaps because of its length or wistful undertone, hasn’t formed a new life through constant references like many other books and fairytales.
This is The Velveteen Rabbit’s superpower; the story remains mostly untouched, leaving room for earnest retellings. When San Antonio’s Magik Theatre picks the story up from November 19 to December 24, it will be many young readers’ first time experiencing it or seeing it off the page, while their adult companions suddenly remember the touching plot.
“Older generations will fondly remember the first time they heard the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, or read it to their children,” said Magik Theatre CEO Frank Villani in a press release. “Now they can experience it in a new way while sharing it with their families through theatre. It’s a full-circle moment.”
The Velveteen Rabbit is a Christmas show in the theater’s programming, as it follows the friendship between a child and a toy rabbit received as a Christmas present. The 1922 story goes on to explore the concept of being real through the toy rabbit’s eyes, using advice from other toys, love displayed by the child, and the experience of other, living rabbits. Many will remember a sad story about scarlet fever and mortality, but the story is ultimately uplifting.
The adapter, Michelle Hoppe-Long, may have made some changes to the narrative, but only provides a broad plot summary that does not seem to deviate from the original writing. Alyssa Cavazos plays “The Child,” in the press release, who is notably only referred to as “the Boy” in the original story. Rosa Gardner, a performer at Magik Theatre since 2016, makes her directorial debut with the new production.
“We are thrilled to share this story that transcends generations and brings families together during the holiday season,” said Magik Theatre artistic director Anthony Runfola. “There’s no better time than the holidays to add a little Magik to your life…and there’s no more magical story than that of The Velveteen Rabbit.”
To celebrate opening night, Magik Theatre is embracing the beginning of the holidays with hot cocoa and themed arts and crafts. The theater is dedicated to providing accessible children’s shows, and other special performances of this play include American Sign Language interpretation, “sensory-friendly” productions, field trip performances, mask-required performances, and pay-what-you-wish entry.
More information about The Velveteen Rabbit at Magik Theatre, including special performance dates and a link to purchase tickets (starting at $17.25), is available at magiktheatre.org.