The Real Deal is is a modern retelling of Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit. Siblings, Peter, Alice and Harriet wish they could have a real pet, but their apartment rules forbid it. Grandpa Hops visits and tells them the story of his beloved stuffed rabbit. Can he convince them that a stuffed animal can be just as good as a real one? This short adaptation emphasizes the transformational power of love.
Cathleen Freedman is a writer from Houston, Texas where she studied Creative Writing and graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Her work has been performed off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. She is currently a student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Excerpt from the play:
CAST OF CHARACTERS
HARRIET MENDES -The thirteen-year-old big sister to Alice and Peter. Granddaughter of Grandpa Hops. She is the coolest thirteen- year-old on the street and acts like it.
ALICE MENDES -The nine-year-old sister of Harriet and Peter. Granddaughter of Grandpa Hops. She looks up to her big sister but is still a kid at heart.
PETER MENDES -The six-year-old brother of Harriet and Alice. Grandson of Grandpa Hops. He loves his grandfather, storytime, and anything cuddly!
GRANDPA HOPS -The grandfather of the Mendes children. Father to mom.
STUFFED ANIMAL RABBIT -Grandpa Hop’s gift to the Mendes children.
HARPER -This is Grandpa Hops as a six-year-old. He is a sweet boy who loves the Velveteen rabbit.
GRANDPA’S MOM -Harper’s mom is a big-hearted woman who wants her son to be happy and safe.
VELVETEEN RABBIT -Harper’s Christmas gift. The Velveteen Rabbit loves Harper and wants to be Real some day.
AUNT MAY -Harper’s aunt. She’s enthusiastic and spirited.
UNCLE KARL -Harper’s uncle. He is a fun uncle.
UNCLE JAMES -Harper’s uncle. He is not the most organized and is a little sloppy.
TOY SOLDIER -Harper’s toy. He is assertive, loud, and efficient; but he is also self-conscious about not being more played with by Harper.
RAGGEDY ANNIE -Harper’s toy. She is a pessimist because she hasn’t been played with in a very long time.
TIMOTHY -Harper’s toy lion. He is proud and elegant but can have his feelings easily hurt.
TOY BOAT -Harper’s toy. He is a bragger because he is played with more frequently. He doesn’t take into consideration other toys’ feelings.
HORSE -Harper’s toy. He was once Uncle Karl’s toy. He is wise, kind, and Real.
RABBIT -A real life rabbit that the Velveteen Rabbit meets in the meadow.
MOM -The mom of Harriet, Alice, and Peter. Daughter of Grandpa Hops.
SETTING: One side of the stage: Mendes living room in their apartment. Present-day. The other side of the stage: Grandpa’s childhood, decades earlier.
AT RISE: The Mendes children (Harriet, Alice, and Peter) all sit on the living room side, waiting for Grandpa Hops.
HARRIET, ALICE, and PETER all lounge around the living room. On this side of the stage, there is only one big chair. Harriet’s eyes are glued to her phone, while Alice and Peter sit near the chair.
Why did Grandpa Hops ask us to meet him in the living room?
Maybe he has a present for us! (Beat.) Do you think he’s going to—
(without moving her eyes from her phone) No.
Peter and Alice’s faces light up.
Of course not. Because mom and dad said we can’t have any real pets, duh. We’ve been over
this. End of discussion.
GRANDPA HOPS enters. He is dressed in tweed and has a scrunchy gray mustache. He wobbles in on a cane and sits down on the chair. He is the picture of a sweet grandfather figure.
Why, hello, Harriet, Alice, and Peter! I’m so glad to see you all.
ALICE and PETER
Hello, grandpa Hops!
Grandpa Hops smiles at Alice and Peter. He looks at Harriet. She is still staring down at her phone. He waits for a moment more before coughing. Harriet glances up and puts away her phone.
Oh, yeah, hi.
That’s more like it. (to everyone) Well, I heard that your parents won’t let you get a real pet.
It’s in our apartment building’s handbook. No pets allowed.
Ah, well, lucky for you all, Grandpa Hops has figured out a solution. I want to give you all
(whispering to her brother and sister) Grandpa Hops got us a pet!
Grandpa Hops stands up and goes behind the chair. He leads out THE STUFFED ANIMAL RABBIT, who stands perfectly still beside him. The Stuffed Animal Rabbit looks straight on into the audience. Harriet, Alice, and Peter look at the rabbit- disappointed.
Grandpa Hops got us…a stuffed animal?
Harriet sighs loudly and goes back on her phone.
This toy might not look like much, but once you give it proper attention, you’d be amazed by
how real and loved it can be.
Let me tell you a story from when I was a boy.
I love stories! Oh, and I love Grandpa!
It was Christmas morning, and I was about your age, Peter.
(Across the stage, HARPER enters. He sits down in a chair.)
And my mother had given me a beautiful velveteen rabbit.
GRANDPA’S MOM enters, walking with the VELVETEEN RABBIT.
Wow! It’s beautiful! Thank you, mom!
You’re welcome, Harper. Be sure to take good care of your velveteen rabbit.
From across the stage, PETER whispers to his sisters.
What’s a velveteen rabbit?
A stuffed rabbit toy made out of velvet.
Sh! What happens next?