“The Lorax” Premieres at Children's Theatre
Photo by Dan Norman
Presented by Children’s Theatre and The Old Globe and adapted for the stage by David Grieg, “The Lorax” was effortlessly executed by an impressively small cast. With crazy fun musical numbers, silly rhyming (true to Dr. Seuss’ whimsical and nonsensical style) and impressive interactive props, the two-hour show flew by—all the while spreading the message to young and old in the audience: “You, too, can speak for the trees.
My 10-year-old sister, Ruby, attended the show with me and according to her, “The Lorax” play was the best and “funniest” of them all. She had read the book before and seen the 2012 movie adpation countless times, but they couldn’t compare to The Once-ler (played wonderfully by Steven Epp) singing rhymes about his Thneed creation, the magical tuffs of the Truffula tree forest, the Brown Bar-ba-loots making the audience laugh with their silly antics and a runway musical number with the latest Thneed fashions.
Since the cast was so small, the only two actors that consistently stayed in only one role were the Once-ler and the Lorax. Each of the other cast members wore many hats during the show—storyteller, musician, Brown Bar-ba-loot, a family member or dancing swan were just a few of them—but the constant switching of roles never interfered with the story.
Without a doubt, the most fascinating character in the play both in terms of production and acting was none other than the Lorax himself, voiced by H. Adam Harris and puppeteered by Meghan Kreidler, Rick Miller and Harris. At first it was surprising to see three people surrounding this one puppet. (Then I was shocked at myself for thinking it would be anything different). But what was even more surprising was the way Harris, Kreidler and Miller blended into the background as the Lorax came to life. It was so well done, I often found myself forgetting that Harris was behind the Lorax at all. Miller and Kreidler aided the Lorax’s movements and Harris never took his eyes off the Lorax, as if he were channeling all his creative power into one little orange puppet with a big personality.
If the Lorax is the most fascinating character, then it’s only fair to say that the Once-ler is the most likable character. He is the not-your-everyday villain despite his “biggering and biggering and biggering” mindset and Thneed schemes, and his story goes to show that even the most misled people can learn their lessons. But, as it is with all life lessons, it’s always less damaging to learn them earlier rather than later. The classic message of the play came across as clear and strong as ever: everyone is called to speak for the trees. And like the Once-ler says: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”