Edward, however, cares for no one but himself and doesn’t respond to Abilene’s declarations of love. Not that he could, anyhow, with his painted-on mouth. He passes the days thinking about his magnificent appearance and little else. Years go by, and Edward’s life of comfort stays the same.
|Kate Poppen’s costume design for Edward (as Malone).|
A great storm brings Edward back to the surface and he is caught in a fisherman’s net. The fisherman, Lawrence, decides to bring Edward back to shore as a gift for his wife, Nellie.
|Ann Sheffield’s set design for the Tulanes’ house on Egypt Street.|
But Edward’s journey is far from over—for each time he’s lost, he’s also found. Years go by as the china rabbit travels across the American countryside, and along the way Edward meets a variety of characters, assumes a number of different identities and experiences both joy and heartbreak. As he’s whisked from adventure to adventure, Edward undergoes a great change: he learns how to love—perhaps the most miraculous thing of all.
|Kate Poppen’s costume design for The Traveler.|
“I love this adaptation,” says Stangl. “It’s very theatrical and transformative, with an actor voicing the thoughts of Edward and all the actors playing musical instruments.”
Although it’s not a musical, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane does use folk music throughout, performed live by the actors, as another way to tell the play’s story. The themes of love, loss and hope in the songs complement Edward’s tale, and the musical style evokes early 20th-century America. Yet, for many of the production’s younger audiences, these songs might be entirely new.
“I’m particularly looking forward to introducing these iconic American tunes to a new generation,” says Stangl.
Despite its historical setting, Edward Tulane’s story is a timeless one.
“We all project ourselves onto other people, and the play presents that in a clever and dynamic way that’s both fun and moving,” Stangl points out. Each character that Edward meets on his journey needs him for a different reason and each one helps the china rabbit comes to terms with the responsibility of love. At its heart, Edward Tulane is about learning to both love and be loved—a lesson that’s not only timeless, but also one for all ages.
To bring the production to life, Stangl assembled an imaginative creative team that includes Deborah Wicks La Puma (musical director), Ann Sheffield (scenic designer), Kate Poppen (costume designer), Karyn Lawrence (lighting designer) and Corinne Carillo (sound designer).
Edward Tulane’s talented cast includes Sylvie Mae Baldwin, Brad Culver, Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper and Ann Noble. Read more about the cast here.
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