Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Post-Modern Vision

Time after time, as I explain my vision to patrons, team members, and potential cast mates, I use the word post-modern.

"I want to present a post-modern view of Seussical ... I'm finished with the 90's version of Seuss," you'll often hear me say.

But what exactly am I talking about? I feel as if I owe myself, and this warm and growing audience base, an explanation.

Seussical closed on Broadway on May 20, 2001, after a short and lacking run in the Big Apple. Yet, Seussical grew in popularity and made its mark on modern American musical theatre after two subsequent tours in 2002 & 2003.

Writers Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens attributed the tour's sucess to their script changes, leading to a "less is more approach."

This is the modern philosophical viewpoint of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who believed in simplicity and minimalism - exactly what Flaherty and Ahrens did with Seussical's tours. Minimal set, simple costumes, and the dilution of story-lines.

My vision for our production of Seussical takes a post-modern viewpoint. I'm unleashing my creative team and cast into a jungle of philosophies, readings, and interpretations of the Dr. Seuss stories which create Seussical's plot line.

Our costumes will be bold and humanized, yet our audience's imagination will become a crucible during heightened moments of character personification and visual effects.

Rather than finding individualism through minimalism, we're going to over-load the senses, forcing you to think about the show's theme and meaning. 

Most importantly, the entire theatre will become the set; audience members will become participants in the action. This personalized, individualistic, post-modern interpretation of Seussical is exactly what I'm trying to conceive.

My generation is tired of living in a one-dimensional society. We're going to explore our humanity in all its variations while celebrating universal mankind. You provide the ingredients and we'll provide the pan. 

I have a few interpretations and symbols within my directing notes. But those are just hints. It's up to you, the audience member, to use your own imagination and mind to accelerate and provide meaning to the story and its characters.

Because, after all, isn't that what Dr. Seuss wanted?

"...Oh the thinks you can think, if you're willing to try..."

Seussically Yours,
Travis Gilbert

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