The MUW theatre department will perform Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat,” this month in Rent Auditorium in Whitfield Hall. It will be performed four times for schools, along with one public performance.
The show is being presented in conjunction with the Columbus Arts Council and will be performed for more than 5,000 children. The decision to have only one general public performance was easy for William “Peppy” Biddy, director of “The Cat in the Hat,” and professor of theatre at MUW.
“The theatre in Whitfield holds four or five times what our theatre here holds, so one show there [will] be like doing 40 shows here,” said Biddy.
The production is a learning opportunity for many of those involved. Karen Thead, a junior theatre major is playing Sally, and she explained that playing a child has been challenging for her.
“It is my first child role, so it’s drastically different from anything I’ve ever done. ‘The Cat in the Hat’ was such an integral part of my childhood, and being able to look back at the book and imagine myself as that character has been a lot of fun, but it has also been very challenging,” Thead said.
The show has also given younger students opportunities to broaden their horizons. Gabby Lestrade, a freshman, was given the opportunity to work on the technology for the show. She said she has learned this job is extremely important.
“I am nervous about the technology that’s used because one wrong click can turn the whole show upside down. It’s also my first time doing a tech job, and it’s an important tech job. It gives me a sense of responsibility that I haven’t had before,” Lestrade said.
Acquiring the rights to produce “The Cat in the Hat” means that the MUW theatre department is required to use the same props, the same scenery and the same lighting as the original show produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain. However, none of that worries Biddy. In fact, Biddy’s largest concern is rehearsing in one space and actually doing the show in another venue.
“In some aspects this is a traveling show. Even though we’re only going a mile down the road there are things that we’ll have to translate onto that stage. We have a few tricks that we aren’t going to be able to rehearse until we get over there. Of course, I won’t give those away and spoil the surprise, but it will be fun.”
The show will be performed in Rent Auditorium in Whitfield Hall on front campus. The public performance will be on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. Admission for children and students is $5, while adult tickets are $10.