Imagine a world filled with outlandish locations, extreme creatures and bright vivid colors. Oh, the things you can think if you just put your imagination into it.
Your imagination is the only tool you need according to Dr. Seuss, famous for his highly artistic children’s books.
But on Oct. 28 at Harman Hall, Christopher Cohan Center, Dr. Seuss’ wild world failed to come alive on stage during “Seussical the Musical,” adopted from the Broadway musical version, Theatreworks USA.
This event, sponsored by Gerry and Peggy Peterson, KSBY TV, Embassy Suites Hotel and KJUG 98.1 FM, was to bring together Dr. Seuss’ best-loved stories.
With the opening song “Oh, the thinks you can think,” The Cat in the Hat fills children’s minds with ideas of “a trip of a ship to the vipper of vip,” of “nobody here and the feeling of fear and the darkness of night” and to “think a beautiful schlopp .with a cherry on top . you don’t need an excuse.”
We might not need an excuse to think such over-the-top thoughts, but in order to do so one would have to comprehend exactly what a “vipper of vip” or a “beautiful schlopp” is.
In “Seussical the Musical,” none of this is anymore clear once the show is over. If anything, you will be left scratching your head.
Now, I suppose the average college student has to prepare to travel back to the age of 5. Once there, it might be possible to appreciate what is going on onstage.
The musical version tells the adventures of the sweet, good-natured Horton the Elephant from the books “Horton Hatches the Egg” and “Horton Hears a Who.”
Horton’s world collides with Jo-Jo the Who after he hears a small cry for help coming from a small speck of dust. From this moment on, Horton promises to rescue and keep it safe because “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Jo-Jo lives in his own creative mayhem when his creative “thinks” of anything-is-possible get out of hand. His parents try and stop his “thinks” because they believe they are inappropriate for the son of the Mayor of Who-Ville.
However, the two minds of Norton and Jo-Jo create an intertwined, outrageous adventure filled with Seuss characters and chaos.
Confused? Still trying to sort out those details? Don’t panic. In the wild world of Seuss everything is senseless.
At first glance, discovering which actors are playing which characters might take some time and true imagination.
However, if you look hard enough, you will find Norton under the gray sweatshirt and pants with the belly-bulge. What gives it away is the “elephant-like” hand gestures associated with this character.
There are also other characters with poor costuming such as the one-feathered bird Miss Gertrude McFuzz, who desperately wants the attention of Horton.
With a simple pink sweatshirt tied around her waist, Miss Gertrude McFuzz wiggles the sleeve to make it appear to be a feather.
Now perhaps people lose all sense of creativity when they grow up, but somehow it is hard to believe that any young child would be able to understand what the sweatshirts are supposed to represent, especially when that is the only prop used to decipher Miss McFuzz from the rest of the characters.
Random pieces of clothing, giant fish on sticks, simple stick umbrellas that are supposed to be trees and one toy box that represents a bed, a bathtub and a boat at different times are all the props used to aid the imagination.
It all appears to simplify the outrageous mind of Dr. Seuss and leaves one question: what would Dr. Seuss think of the lack of imagination?
Though an audience might have to work rather hard to open their minds in order to picture what Dr. Seuss had intended, at least the vocal talent lived up to expectations.
Whether they were singing about “the darkness of night” or the adventures at sea, this cast has vocal talent that goes beyond second-grade comprehension.
However, with their singing skills and persuasive acting, the actors cannot be blamed for the lack of imagination within the props and stage settings.
Still, at $17 per ticket and only an hour and 15 minutes of entertainment, one might reconsider just going to the bookstore and picking up the classic books to see the world of Dr. Seuss as he intended it to be.