The Wonderful and Delightful Show of Edward Tulane
Saying final goodbyes, discovering isolation, and being forced away from your friends–we have had to do an unexpected amount of “growing up” over the past year.
We carry these lessons along with us, but even with what can feel like the world on our shoulders, it is always important to reflect and take in the life around us.
As part of Theatre Kingston’s Storefront Fringe Festival, which is supported by the Kick & Push Festival, Blue Canoe Productions presents their newest work Sharing Stories: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Director Abby Skene and music director Jonathon Gysbers work together to bring Kate DiCamillo’s novel of the same name to life right before your eyes (or screens). While there continues to be phenomenal creativity in digital performance, with this production, there is nothing quite like watching actors work together to tell a story in a shared space.
The titular Edward Tulane (Jamie Fiuza) is a china rabbit who is passed from family to family through a series of serendipitous adventures, where life lessons present themselves through his relationship to each new owner. Fellow performers Meg Gibson, Brayah Pickard, and Maddie Disera play a collection of characters, each one distinct from the previous. Their unique interpretations refresh every moment with their collective talent, wit, and mannerisms. It is beautiful to watch as they collectively transform the environment with simple items like rehearsal cubes as furniture and blue fabric as the ocean–a testament to Skene’s direction and the willingness of the cast to allow themselves to have fun with the script and movement.
As for Gysbers’ original music, the light and plucky guitar melodies follows the rabbit throughout the performance, with a new instrument or two added with each new theme. This method produces a musical legacy that can always be referred to Tulane whilst being a friendly aural addition that doesn’t completely overwhelm the scene.
While we may never truly know the amount of work Remira Pryce (Stage Manager) , Shelby VanLuven (Technical Director and Lighting Designer), Lily Lachapelle (Puppet Master), and Sebastian Vaillancourt (Video Editor) had to do behind-the-scenes, no show review (or show for that matter) would be complete without a deep thank-you to the production team.
Though I am not this show’s intended audience, I greatly enjoyed my time watching this production. Not only does Sharing Stories serve as a wonderful tale of growth for children, but for grown-ups like me who need a little reminder of childhood joys and imagination. This show can be watched by yourself, friends, and family–but no matter who it is with, you will have a wonderful time.
Blue Canoe Productions continues to be a pioneer, advocate, and participant in youth theatre. You will laugh, you will cry, but most importantly, you will fall back in love once more with the friends and memories you have made along the wacky life journey you continue to travel on – china doll or otherwise.
For those who are sensitive to flashing lights, be wary of a few moments early on where magic makes lights change colour rapidly across the stage.