Stormy’s Review: “Learning to Love – A Rabbit’s Story”

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Are you ready for an adventure? The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is about a rabbit who discovers the true meaning of love. He realizes that life is difficult but that is when friendship finds him and he learns to love in return.

          As you enter the theatre, you will notice how nice and cozy the atmosphere is.  You will feel like you are part of the play. As your adventure begins, you are introduced to Edward. He is the finest of all china rabbits and, unfortunately his self-importance matches his looks. A little girl named Abilene adores him and sings to him like he is real.  Soon, on an ocean voyage, he is thrown overboard and sunk into silence.  In the darkness of the ocean, Edward waits and is rescued from his loneliness.  From life on the road with a Hobo to the arms of a very sick girl, he has many hard lessons and learns that life is full of ups and downs.  When one of his new owners sees him as a girl and puts him in a dress, he is horrified.  He quickly realizes, though,  how much love she has given him and how insignificant his clothes really are. Edward’s journey seems to come to an end when he is literally broken inside and out. He seems to have given up on hope. The ending will give you goose bumps as the miracle of Edward Tulane is finally understood.

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One of the coolest things that I learned backstage was the making of Edward. In the play, seven Edwards are used, each for different chapters in the story. Just like the actors, Edward has his own wardrobe. Baby blue tweed suits, casual evening wear, and even suits for an ocean voyage.  On www.facebook.com/ChildsplayAZ, you can see the making of Edward Tulane in a 3-D computer generated version. I also had the chance to see how the lights worked in the play. A machine is used to change the background settings and sounds. The stage, called a revolver, is used so that it can rotate on wheels.  The “Hobo scene” even uses a pretend fire built into the revolver. In another scene at the beginning of the play, a special lamp shade is used to tell a story. The lamp has different slides built into it, each with a different scene for the story.

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After the backstage tour, I was lucky enough to meet the actors that put this miraculous performance together. Kyle Sorrell (voice of Edward), Kate McFadzen (The Traveler), Debra K. Stevens (The Woman), and David Dickinson, (The Man) each played many roles in this play. Kyle Sorrell, for example, was not only the voice of Edward, but also composed all of the music.  (I secretly know he is a lefty like I am. When you watch the play, see if you can find the musical clue that gives it away.)  David Dickinson also played many different characters. One of the most lovable was The Hobo. While the Hobo chapter in the book was not my favorite, it was one of my absolute favorites in the play.  Mr. Dickinson did an amazing performance under the stars playing his harmonica and also the violin. When I interviewed him, he mentioned this was a miraculous opportunity for him to introduce the violin into the play. Debra Stevens played multiple characters and one that even barks! You will fall in love with “Lucy.” Kate McFadzen narrates and surprises the audience with a unique bedtime story using a lamp and shadow puppets.  It was great meeting the cast and Edward, and for me, these creative ideas are what made this play miraculous.

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Hurry, don’t miss your opportunity to meet Edward and ask yourself what is your miraculous journey!

Stormy Light
Childsplay Kid Reporter

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Stormy Reviews “Robin Hood”

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In preparation for my first play review I thought it would be a great idea to read the book, Robin Hood. Honestly, from the first page to the last, I just couldn’t relate to it. I was panicking as I walked into the theater with my “book” vision – a man in green tights stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, eerie music and a lot of Old English words that I couldn’t understand.  As I waited nervously, pen in hand to take notes, the lights dimmed.

Bam! Robin Hood makes his incredible entrance flying across the stage in his Camo skinny jeans, black studded jacket and cool gloves. I was so excited to find out what was going to happen next. The music is loud and funky and sets the scene for a new twist on the Sherwood Forest. This Robin Hood even plays the air guitar. I glanced over at my brother and he was on the edge of his seat leaning toward the stage. He was totally into this play. I could see why. You can’t have Robin Hood without flying arrows. In this play they do something with arrows you’ve never seen before.

The Sheriff of Nottingham is also quite a character. He kept the audience laughing even though he was one of the bad guys. Keep watch for the greedy Prince John who suddenly pops out from one of the many mysterious boxes.  With her fighting skills and flowing red hair, Maid Marian becomes a perfect partner for the Hood. She can swing the sword and aim the arrows as well as any of Merry Men.  You will love the very comical, stunt filled adventure through this modern Sherwood Forest.

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After the lights came back on, I got to sneak backstage and see some of the props and meet the people who put this play together. The cast, Andy Cahoon (Robin Hood), Kate Haas (Maid Marian), Jon Gentry (Sheriff of Nottingham), Ricky Araiza (Prince John), Eric Boudreau (Will Scarlett) and Keath Hall (Little John) introduced me to the Green Room, a backstage hangout for the actors.  The actor’s favorite part was the big fight at the end of the play. Multiple sword fights were happening at the same time. Each actor had to train 3 weeks, eight hours a day, to practice combat, sword fighting, and martial arts. Some of the costumes were used for protection. For example, Maid Marian had to wear some extra padding to make sure the studs in her jacket weren’t rubbing against her so she could perform her stunts without injury. The costume designer did an amazing job setting the new mood of the play. I loved how the Merry Men had punk rocker outfits and rooster hair to add to the play’s theme. In the end, thanks to the actors and their fun quirky interpretation of Robin Hood, I can finally relate to this story. Be sure to check out this original performance and tell me how YOU relate to this story and its characters.

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Stormy Light
Childsplay Kid Reporter