We saw a musical last weekend.
Several years ago, when Michael and I had season tickets to one of the local theatres, we saw a national touring company of Suessical the Musical, with Cathy Rigby (former Olympic gymnast most famous since for playing Peter Pan in more than one revival on Broadway and numerous national tours) as the Cat in the Hat. It was fun.
This last weekend we saw the musical performed by a bunch of middle-school kids, one of whom happens to be my godson. It was also a lot of fun. And that isn’t just my prejudice as a doting godparent.
At least some of the fun is remembering what it was like being on stage around the age, and not feeling at all as fearless as these kids seemed to be. It was quite amazing to hear the voices on a few of those kids, who did not sound like “kids” at all.
It was also fun to remember all that Seuss. The musical takes elements from a bunch of Dr. Seuss books (most prominently Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches an Egg) and weaves them together to make one story.
It would be easy to be cynical and dismissive of the play, what with the themes of accepting yourself for who you are, loyalty, and respecting others. And since people usually accuse me of being the opposite of cynical, it should surprise no one that I’m not going to go there. In fact, what I found myself thinking about most during the drive home was how easy it was to fall into the imaginary world with very simple costumes and minimal props. You don’t need a lot of special effects to believe that a group of monkeys are trying to steal a clover with a dust spec from an elephant. Just a few hints and a bit of body language is all that’s required.
Which was a good thing to be reminded of while I’m slogging away on my novel, occasionally wondering how words on a screen can compete with animation and music.
It’s the story and the characters that matter. Everything else is window dressing.