July 28th, 2011

Thing 1 and Thing 2


Shannon and I went to see a local production of the Dr. Seuss-inspired Broadway musical Seussical last night (by the Berkeley Playhouse, staged in the Julia Morgan Theater), and I would love to write an extensive review of it, but I'm just too tired all the time. Not sleepy, necessarily, but exhausted. It seems like I'm busy busy busy all day long.

But this is what I wrote about it on Yelp!:
We saw the Berkeley Playhouse production of the Dr. Seuss-inspired musical "Seussical" tonight at the beautiful Julia Morgan Theater, and it was great! Not as professional as ACT or even Berkeley Rep, of course, but in some ways even more fun because of that difference.

There were lots of kids and teens in the cast, and they did a terrific job, while seeming to have a blast doing it. It made me think of how great this kind of program is for the community, giving kids the opportunity to get involved in something that can help improve their self-esteem, teach them about working as part of a team, foster creativity, etc. So I felt like I was also getting involved with making my community a better place, just by supporting this production.

The costumes were minimalist but nonetheless perfect. There was a definite tendency toward solid colors and stripes, as well as certain colors (esp. yellow, purple, and reddish orange), which gave the visuals of the show a nice continuity.

The choreography impressed me, especially as so many young people were involved, and much of the singing was quite good. The acting didn't really grab me right away -- except William Hodgson, who was playing the playfully emceeing Cat-in-the-Hat -- but as the play went on I felt that the performances become more emotional.

They even had several "Half-Price/Pay What You Can Nights," for which you can reserve tickets ahead of time online for half-price, or show up at the door and pay whatever you like. It's a nice way to encourage, include, and welcome people who wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford to go to the theater.

I'm looking forward to next season and definitely plan to see more of their plays. They're a great community resource!

Basically, it was fabulous. Shannon and I had a great time. You local folks should consider going, if it's your kind of thing.

While watching the play (surrounded by many children, almost all of whom were remarkably well-behaved, most likely captivated by the color and energy of the action on the stage), I was struck by the central plot point of Horton the elephant sitting on the irresponsible Maizey's egg for months and months and repeating, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful 100 percent." And I had this flash to my childhood, and remembered that Horton, in that story (and I mostly remember it from the cartoon, rather than the book), was one of my heroes when I was little. I totally identified with him, probably due to my reality as the obedient, responsible sister of a brother who was always running off and getting in trouble and not seeming to care about it. It always seemed vastly unfair, and so did Horton's story. So when watching Seussical I sorta reestablished my connection with Horton the Dutiful Sitter-Upon of Other People's Eggs.

The other Seuss character I always identified with was Mr. Krinklebine (Karlos K. Krinklebine, that is ... rather ominous initials), the very responsible goldfish who worries incessantly about the children who are persuaded by the Cat in the Hat to break their parents' house rules. I'm a big worrier, too ... and I was even more so as a child, I think.

My only real sadness re: the play? The absence of Thing One and Thing Two. I loves me some T1 and T2.

Other stuff's been going on, too, but I'm too tired to remember it. Just give me a cup of hot cocoa, a foot rub, a cat on my lap, and maybe a Jasper Fforde novel.