The Velveteen Rabbit at 90
This is the ODC Dance at its best. The Velveteen Rabbit, adapted from Margery Williams’ 1922 children’s novel about a boy and his stuffed rabbit, is regular Christmas fare, but particularly well done here.
Recently, we caught up with the incomparably accomplished KT Nelson, co-artistic director at ODC — and one of the true renaissance figures in San Francisco these days — to ask about this production, with narration by Geoff Hoyle, score by Benjamin Britten, and songs sung by Rinde Eckert.
“The thing I really value about this it that it’s a gem of a story. It’s actually very profound, yet not delivered in a precious way. When Margery Williams is talking about love, transformation, and commitment, there’s nothing melodramatic, it’s all very down to earth. In our life today so much of what we see is overdone, over the top. And I think people see that and turn away. In this story these are truths about everyday life: having a best friend for 10 years is a cool thing; getting old can be good thing, and if you want to risk being real, you don’t care about being hurt.
As for the dancers in the program, Nelson added, “ODC dancers are my cast of talent and what I love about them is that they are wonderfully skilled and trained. They are like watching a baseball player stealing a base, brilliant, free and not self-conscious. In that sense, the aesthetic here is partly the physicality, and that’s what grounds both dancers and the story.”
The Velveteen Rabbit, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Nov. 23 to Dec. 9, Tickets start at $15.
Included in: Kids Around the Bay
Mark MacNamara is a journalist who has written for such publications as Salon.com, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, The Stanford Social Innovation Review and The International Herald Tribune. His website is: macnamband.com.