By Alexandra Kesman
The moment the lights go down during ‘Velveteen: Or How to Be Real’, you’re transported to a book club – which, considering the venue is Coffee Emporium, seems plausible.
“What does it mean to be real?” performers Steph Green and Sarah Weston ask the audience. We’re all here to discuss the assigned book for this week’s book club, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Hopefully you’ve read this week’s book. If you haven’t, they duo gives a quick recap of the plot and concepts in the famous children’s story. For those unfamiliar: The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a beloved stuffed bunny, carted around and showered in affection by a child. The rabbit’s only desire is to be made “real”, whatever that means. It’s a bit of a tearjerker, even for the adults among us, and posits some fascinating existential questions about reality, existence, and what it means to love.
The title of this show doesn’t prepare you for the very smart and humorous performance that unfolds throughout the next 60 minutes. In exploring what it means to be ‘real’, they transition from moments where the audience offers suggestions, to stand-up comedy routines, to crafting a presentation video blog for a Margery Williams contest on “Ways to Be Real”. After the contest submission is sent, Williams somehow suddenly appears and wants to discuss their submission. Shortly after her arrival, a website exposing her as a fraud emerges, with neighbors noting that the “real” author passed away in 1944. The woman they see in their neighborhood, claiming to be Williams, is an impostor.
But is she real? Even if she isn’t who she says she is? We’re asked to consider that question again: “What does it mean to be real?”
Travelling all the way to Cincinnati from Manchester, England, Thought Plane Theatre’s show is witty, humorous, and causes one to think about the essence of the human condition, within the context of the state of our world in 2017. If you’re looking for a show that is lighthearted and sweet, but also packs a punch, this is the show for you!
Alexandra Kesman has worked at non-profit organizations for over a decade and always enjoyed using innovative software and technology to help them succeed. Alexandra now is a certified Salesforce.com Administrator, WordPress Administrator, and Graphic Designer. Currently, Alexandra is consulting with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations to help simplify company processes through effective use of web-based and software technology for all levels of customer and audience engagement. Alexandra also produces the Improv Festival of Cincinnati and is a singer with the May Festival Chorus, and is a former producer of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.