“Seussical” Leaves its Mark on Piedmont

LAUREN BARTLETT Publication Chief

The Piedmont College Department of Theater presented their first black box show of the semester when they brought the classic Dr. Seuss tale of Horton the Elephant to life. “Seussical the Musical” opened on Thursday, Nov. 17 in the Swanson Center Black Box and ran through Sunday, Nov. 20.

The black box is an enclosed, more intimate setting which allows the audience to feel more involved with the show. The set for the show was the first thing most audience members noticed. It took over almost the entire black box area. There were tall and colorful parts of the set that came together to portray a jungle scene. There were also bubble quotes from other Dr. Seuss books.

The entire show was a mixture of different Dr. Seuss stories. From “Horton Hatches an Egg,” “The Cat in the Hat” and “Horton Hears a Who.” The show began with a little girl from Whoville meeting The Cat in the Hat. She explains that she’s misunderstood by her family because of all the “thinks she can think.” Soon after that, Horton the Elephant eventually hears the Who’s through a piece of grass that he found in the jungle.

At first, no one believes that Horton hears anything. He spends the whole play trying to convince everyone that he’s not crazy. Senior theater arts major Brandon Deen played Horton the Elephant.

“I learned a lot from playing Horton. Mainly that as an actor I can’t be afraid to be the only character that is serious,” said Deen. “My character also taught me that you have to have faith in something, it can get you so far in life. The performances were wonderful and the audience seemed to be blown away.”

Although there were other wonderfully portrayed characters in the jungle and Whoville, another character in the show that really shined was Gertrude McFuzz played by junior theater arts major Chelsea Gittens. Gertrude McFuzz was a bird who had her very own storyline within the show. She told a story about being in love with Horton the Elephant and trying to impress him with a new tail. She was the only other jungle animal that believed Horton really did hear people inside the small piece of grass, and she even tried to convince the others as well. She gave a good example on how to treat others.

She showed loyalty, compassion and how to be a good friend. The love story between Gertrude and Horton was very sweet, and it gave a sentimental and more serious aspect to the show.

“It’s been an amazing run. Thank you so much Kathy Blandin for this opportunity,” said Gittens. “Seussical has always occupied a special place in my heart. I’m going to really miss it.”

Theater professor and director of “Seussical” Kathy Blandin started working on the show in early Oct. “When I started working on the show I thought it would be great entertainment, but, when I dug into the text and the character relationships I started to realize the important themes in the piece,” she said. “One of the second grade students who attended said it best, ‘Horton teaches us to be nice to everyone’.”