Applauding All Abilities. That’s the tagline for Tapestry Theatre Company – I love rehearsing and performing with this group! There truly is magic that happens in musical theatre, and this summer I’ve been playing a role that feels like my second self: Horton the Elephant, in Seussical.
The rhyme-books of Dr. Seuss contain important messages, especially on how to deal with difficult situations. Horton the Elephant is kind, loyal, compassionate, and caring – but he is clearly different and is teased terribly by the other jungle dwellers. One of my favorite songs as Horton is, I’m Alone In the Universe… After expressing my loneliness, I discover an invisible world of tiny folks (the Who’s) sailing through the air on a speck of dust which I place, safe, on a sweet clover blossom. The Who’s beg for my help and protection, but only I can hear them – everyone else thinks I’m crazy, so eventually they take me to court, wanting to have me locked up!
Meanwhile, though, I’m taking care of bird-girl Mayzie’s egg, since she has flown off for a vacation. By the time she comes back and says she won’t be responsible for her egg, hunters have captured and sold me to the circus, along with egg, nest, and tree. There, people “pay to take peeks” while I sing: “I meant what I said / And I said what I meant / An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent… / Now, little egg, you’re alone in the universe too…” Then, I go on with a beautiful lullaby for my dear egg (Solla Sallew). Funny – that thing about “say what you mean, and mean what you say” – that’s a point I made in my TED-talk this past April. That was before I started rehearsals and discovered the same idea in this musical – how magical!
Another important character in Seussical is Gertrude, a bird-girl with a skimpy “one-feather tail” who dearly loves Horton. But he is so wrapped up in caring for the Who’s and the egg, that he just doesn’t notice her, even when she goes to extraordinary lengths to grow a beautiful, showy tail. In the end, Horton wakes up to Gertrude’s dedication, delighted and amazed that she cares so much for him. Together, they become loving parents to the Elephant-Bird that hatches out of Mayzie’s egg! I dream that someday, in my own real life, I’ll discover that special someone too…
Meanwhile, I’ll keep working to inspire compassion and caring in others with my autism presentations and my TED-talk. A reporter came to our opening show and spent much time interviewing me – I shared with him how similar Horton and I are, and how the messages in Seussical parallel those in my own talks and writings. Here’s the article: http://www.coloradohometownweekly.com/news/ci_28483138/louisvilles-tapestry-theatre-hits-stage-with-seussical-jr
And finally, thanks and love to the directors of Tapestry and to all my fellow-actors – it takes a full cast to make the magic, and we all help each other shine!