Scenes from Seussical
In my 16 years of teaching here at HHS, this has been the most challenging musical to date. From selling the idea to members of the drama program that this was not a silly children’s show, to battling through issues kids had with honoring anything to do with Dr. Seuss (due to that period in his life when his cartoons mirrored our country’s intolerance and racial prejudices), to convincing them to invest in my concept for this show and mastering the music – yes, it’s harder than Les Miserables. Directing a theater program at a high school is more than just putting on good performances. It is crafting a learning experience that inspires self-confidence, social interaction, a sense of community and challenges a complacent view of the world.
This is a story of an unseen people, believed in and supported by a humble elephant who understands that a “person’s a person no matter how small.” An elephant who knows what it is like to be “alone in the universe.” They are the Whos from Whoville and all of us who have read Horton Hears a Who most likely found ourselves on Horton’s side as he steadfastly protected them despite the ridicule from those around him. It’s interesting how easy it is to feel empathy for cute tiny cartoon creatures brightly colored in storybooks. I would like to think that Dr. Seuss’s intention was that our empathy extends beyond the page to color our interactions with each other. . . that we acknowledge and feel the weight of the challenges and heartaches experienced by people around the world whom we can not see. So we have set this story in the dreamscape of a child, separated from family, home, and a sense of peace, who is searching for someone to believe that she is “a person, no matter how small” and worth the empathy of those who know a better life.
Valerie von Rosenvinge, Director
Photos from our production of Seussical