In “Seussical the Musical,” presented by Washington Open Elementary School’s Drama Program from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9 at Santa Clara High School, a number of Dr. Seuss stories are intertwined.
The end result is a tale of an elephant named Horton who vows to protect Whoville’s “smallest of small” citizens. Unseen by the animals in the Jungle of Nool, but heard by only Horton, the Whos dwell on a dust speck set on a clover. Horton also kindly assumes responsibility for sitting on an unwanted and unhatched egg in a nest. The story approaches its climax when the jungle animals put Horton on trial due to an accusation of criminal insanity.
On the Jan. 30 dress rehearsal, the student cast of Solla Sollew put on a vibrant show. The other casts are the Kalamazoo Cast, another student cast, and the Wah-Hoo Cast, an adult cast comprised of the school’s parents, faculty and staff. “Oh the Thinks You Can Think” and “Green Eggs and Ham” are a couple of the many catchy songs in the musical.
According to Amy Zsadanyi-Yale, who co-directed the show with Celia Scheuerman, participating in a play comes with many benefits, which include building self-confidence as well as verbal, social and communication skills and learning about compassion.
Rohan Kashyap, 10, played the gentle Horton. During Kashyap’s time rehearsing for the play, he made new friends with other cast members. Kashyap also explained the message of compassion that Horton conveyed.
“Horton really cares about things, even really small things like the Whos,” Kashyap said. “He can’t see them, but he still wants to help them. A message here is about how you can respect those who are different and be open to new kinds of people.”
Cara Jeu, 10, played Gertrude, a bird who remained loyal to Horton. Playing her first lead role, Jeu felt that the process of learning her solos and lines and having her own microphone will prepare her for future roles. Jeu also noted how Gertrude demonstrated compassion.
“Even though the others are making fun of Horton, Gertrude is the only jungle animal who makes the effort to be nice to Horton,” Jeu said. “For example, Gertrude brings Horton a scarf when he is cold, and she sticks up for Horton when he is on trial.”
According to Isaac Aguas, 9, who played Mr. Mayor of Whoville, practicing for his part helped him eliminate his stage fright. Playing Mr. Mayor, the caretaker of the endangered Whoville, gave Aguas a chance to reflect on ways that he is a caretaker in his own life.
“I serve on the school’s Green Team,” Aguas said. “I pick up trash and recyclable items around the school. I also work in the school garden. So doing these things, I feel like I’m taking care of the earth, like how Mr. Mayor takes care of the Whos in Whoville.”