Seussical is a brilliant musical for kids and perhaps even adults who cherish the writings of Dr. Seuss. The production intertwines the plots of several stories to create a magical world full of fantastic creatures and breathtaking adventures of the Cat, Horton the Elephant, and his small friend Jojo (“Seussical the Musical”). The paper at hand focuses upon the acting and direction as the primary constituents of any theatrical performance. However, it is also taken into consideration that the reception of the play is largely affected by two design elements: set design and costumes. In Seussical, the Musical these two production components create a unique theatrical space that helps understand the themes, the mood, and the messages of the play.
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It is quite evident that no matter how involving the plot may be, it will never impress the audience unless the actors do their best to show credible emotions that help create a true-to-life story.
Among the actors of Seussical the Musical, perhaps the most impressive ones are the protagonist and the antagonist: Sour Kangaroo and Horton the Elephant. The extravagant rudeness and vulgarity of the former are perfectly contrasted with the kindness, gentleness, and vulnerability of the latter. Since bad acting reveals itself in “stone” hands and face, it is important to pay attention not only to the actors’ speech but also to their bodies. The actress playing Kangaroo is especially skillful in stage movement – her gestures are in perfect harmony with words, facial expressions, and intonations. The same can be said about Gertrude, who convincingly shows clumsiness and awkwardness that is funny and touchy at the same time. The actress is also perfect in voice modulations, which are crucial to avoid monotony.
It is especially challenging to deal with kids as a target audience as their attention is difficult to catch for a long time. Besides, the actors of any musical have to combine speaking, singing, and dancing in their acting, which makes the task even more difficult. The actors of Seussical use grotesque as the main technique to be more childlike. Their relations are not based on natural communication as that would be boring for children to watch. They are playful and excessively emotional.
Since the decorations are rather neutral and there are practically no props, the actors can only interact with each other, which they do perfectly especially when they dance and sing making a small show of each song. The speech of each performer is distinct and loud so you can easily discern the words. However, their faces are hard to see as it is often dim and many people are present on the stage simultaneously.
The scenes change rather abruptly, which supports the pace set by the dynamic plot – there is simply no time for pauses. However, it looks rather natural and smooth because of the created mood.
The lighting of the production is not very well-done as it is often hard to see the actors’ facial expressions. The lighting man rarely spotlights the characters using mostly ambient light. Thus, it is difficult to identify its source and direction. However, the use of color is symbolic: the good characters act in blue light whereas the evil ones’ appearance switches the color of the light to red. It aggravates their aggression and warns young spectators against them. This is aligned with the colors of the costumes.
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“Seussical the Musical (Full Show).” YouTube, uploaded by BigelliElli. 2016. Web.