An actor's dignity is perhaps never more challenged than when donning an animal suit. Whether playing Pooh or a blue schmoo, many thespians would rather be stuck in a nightmare tour of Fame
than be buried beneath big, floppy ears. But that was Jessalyn Kincaid's wardrobe for The Velveteen Rabbit
at Theatre for Young America last winter. Playing a low-tech toy that's pushed aside for flashier competitors, she managed to convey the character's despondency, even though her heart-shaped face was the only visible skin. Given the potential cuddle factor suggested by the play's title, we were unprepared for the show's slightly sinister undertones, made all the more touching by Kincaid's warmth and earned pathos.