From left, cast members Keith Friesen, Connor Adrian, Katrina Epp, Amber Reimer and Melanie Wiebe. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)
Get ready to connect with your inner child at Flatlands Theatre’s latest offering. The theatre company is putting on The Velveteen Rabbit at the beginning of May.
The play is an adaptation of the novel by Margery Williams. The book follows the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, who longs to become real through the love of his owner.
“It’s really based around the question of ‘What is real?’” Amber Reimer, who plays the titular Velveteen Rabbit, said.
Reimer said the play has been challenging. “I’ve been in several other plays mostly with larger casts,” she said. “I knew this one was going to have a smaller cast and I wanted to do something that would be a little more difficult and I wanted to do a role that would challenge me.”
Melanie Wiebe, who plays multiple characters during the play, said switching between roles has been a big challenge. “It’s very different than just playing one character,” she said. “Especially in a play like our last one Anne of Avonlea where it’s more set in the realistic world, here you’re finishing each other’s sentences, you’re working very tightly together. Everything is timed and choreographed and you really have to put it in your mind to switch between those characters as quickly and as fluidly as you can.”
Wiebe said she was just drawn into the story. “I read it once a long time ago and it really resonated with me,” she said. “It’s adorable, it’s sad, it’s happy, it’s everything.”
For Reimer, one of the more challenging aspects was getting into character. “I’ve never had to play a toy,” she said. “So making this toy something that could be a real thing and giving it personality and character and how it interacts with other characters was challenging.”
Reimer and Wiebe said the play is as “whimsical as they can get,” and while they have geared it toward children, the story is one that everyone can understand and enjoy.
“It’s really great for bringing out your inner child,” Reimer said. “It’s really great for stirring up memories of when you played with toys or when you pretended all your toys were real. It’s really sweet and cute.”
“I think it has something in it for everyone,” Wiebe added. “Everyone can relate to some part of it.”
The actors have been rehearsing since January.
The play runs from May 3-5 at 7:30 p.m. and May 6 at 3:00 p.m. at the P.W. Enns Centennial Concert Hall. Tickets are available at the P.W. Enns Centennial Concert Hall box office or online through www.winklerconcerthall.ca.
Children can also win their own Velveteen Rabbit and a copy of the book at any of the shows. Every child that attends the play will be entered into a draw, and if they bring their favourite stuffed animal, they will receive an additional entry.