Nov. 21 drama performance features scenes from the Cat in the Hat and other favorites

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Director Anneliese Chapman, right, will lead a diverse group of Horizon Christian Elementary and Middle School students in a Nov. 21 performance of Go Seuss, Go. Clockwise, starting at bottom left is Gavin Sheehan, one of two students playing the Cat in the Hat; Molly Grubb as Thing 1; Grace Mager as Go Dog, Go; Natalya Karnes as Sally; and Savannah Rodriguez, who also plays Sally.Everyone loves Dr. Seuss.

From children too young to read on their own to the oldest among us, the famous series of children’s books featuring a bipedal cat with a striped hat and other wacky characters is always a favorite .

The pen name of Massachusetts-born author and poet Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss has had a huge impact on American culture. The timeless stories have been analyzed for decades now for their impact on politics, child-rearing and even business management.

A 2002 study by Harry Jenkins, director of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, went so far as claim that Seuss’ work “reflects a larger current of American progressivism during this period, which saw the home and family as the birthplace of a more democratic culture.”

Horizon Christian Elementary and Middle schools may not be looking to make any academic statements with their upcoming drama production of “Go Seuss, Go!” but the schools’ Drama Hawks will provide stage adaptations of scenes from many of Geisel’s favorite creations that are sure to provide the type of family fun enjoyed by millions since “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street” first was published in 1937.

“Our real audience is the K through fifth-grade students,” said “Go Seuss, Go!” director Anneliese Chapman. “Not to exclude the others — we have an evening performance — but playing to a children’s audience using students has a different feel. To have it all colorful and full of costumes and props, it adds to keeping the attention of those in the younger ages, and anytime you can make a storybook come alive it makes it more real for those in the audience.”

Set for one night only, “Go Seuss Go” is an ensemble show that will provide audiences with a look at scenes from “Green Eggs and Ham” and other Seuss classics at 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening at Horizon Christian Elementary and Middle School, 7400 SW Sagert St., Tualatin. Tickets are $5 and the performance is open to the public.

“I always thought the pictures were coming to life because everything seems so fuzzy,” said Natalya Karnes, a Horizon Christian eighth-grader who is one of two girls playing Sally, the popular girl character who can be found in many Seuss adventures alongside her friend Nick. “Literally, I love pink bows and pink dresses, and I really like her character too. She’s just a girl.”

Twenty-six Horizon Christian Drama Hawk actors in third through eighth grade perform in “Go Seuss, Go!” All take part in the afterschool Drama Hawks club, where they are learning not only the basics of acting, but fundamentals of lighting, costumes, makeup and production.

But most of all, they’re having fun. And it’s going to show up in the performance.

“Kids are very visual,” said Chapman. “They’ll listen better to what you’re saying if you have something to show them.”

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