Shakespearian enthusiasts around the globe might be able to recite most of William Shakespeare’s famous works by heart — but could they do it dressed as the cat in the hat or eating green eggs and ham?
The Commodore Players, Perry County Central’s theatre company, has been working since November on their spring production of “The Seussification of A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” an experience drama teacher Phil Neace said he thinks the audience, and cast, will never forget.
“We’re big Shakespeare fans in this company, but Shakespeare, to do it solely as that, we know we wouldn’t get as big of an audience, especially for the grade school kids,” Neace explained. “So this is a way to, honestly, make us a little bit happy with the Shakespearian side, and it’s just so much fun to try to do it as Dr. Seuss and try to make it look like that.”
Neace said every spring production is directed by a stand-out senior who picks the play they want and designs how they would want the play to look and be performed. This year’s student director, Johnathan Bush, has worked in almost every aspect of the theatre since he started high school.
“This year, John was the only one to throw his hat in the ring, as we say, to do it. But he’s earned it,” Neace said. “He was the one that I knew could do it, and when he chose Dr. Seuss I immediately was like, this is going to be fun!”
Bush said he chose this play after seeing another play, “The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet,” performed at the Kentucky Theatre Association (KTA) competition in November.
“When we started doing plays for the KTA, my first one I ever went to, they did a ‘Seussification of Romeo and Juliet’ and it was just really funny,” Bush said. “And then when I seen this one in the script book, I’m like, hey, why not? It’d be a good laugh for everybody, and we’d probably make a lot of money off of it.”
With the school district in such a financial dilemma this year, it is no surprise the drama program at PCC is also feeling the crunch. Neace said family members helped with donations of supplies for the play since the company was left with almost nothing in the budget after attending the KTA competition last year.
“We’ve always been kind of self-sufficient. We’re grateful to have those [donations], and we’re going to have a couple of concession stands at the district tournament to help raise money to finish up the last costuming and tech details. So, hope everybody can help us out,” he said.
MaKeisha Combs, a junior who has been cast as Thing Two, said she can’t wait for opening night.
“We try to make it as Dr. Seuss-y as possible. Where we know what ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is and Dr. Seuss is just amazing; it’s like trying to bust a rainbow and make it all colorful on the stage,” Combs explained.
Neace wanted to remind anyone in the community who is interested in watching the play that even though he wrote children’s books, there is no age restriction on who can enjoy Dr. Seuss.
“It’s for everybody. Don’t think of it just as a kid’s play because it’s Dr. Seuss, or a theatre person play because it’s Shakespeare,” Neace said. “This one’s for the whole community, it really is.”
Production dates for “The Seussification of A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be march 21-24, and ticket prices will be $5 for students and $6 for adults. For more information, contact Phil Neace at 606-439-5888.