By Zach Dunkin
Complete with all its clever rhymes, timely sound effects, weird costumes and sparse stage setting, the story of Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat” will “unfold” before audiences at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts.
Based on the children’s book first published in 1957, the Civic Theatre production of the tale of a tall, mischievous cat who wears a red and white-striped hat runs from Feb. 21 through March 1
“There is a sound effect for everything,” director Anne Beck said. “It keeps the sound operator and the cast completely in-synch while audibly giving this storybook life off of the page. Everything is meant to resemble the original book. The black, white and red costumes. A lot of the pictures in the book are recreated with items that come on to assist, such as the door, the red box with the tricks in it and props to all aid the pages of the book unfolding.”
Beck has directed the play a few times with different actors, working with a new energy, strengths and comedic skills, plus an actor with specific qualities that give her something fresh to play with from each new Cat.
Seven adults make up the cast. Jonathan Stoddard, who grew up in Carmel, but now lives on Indy’s northside, plays The Cat.
“He is animated, whimsical, hilarious and a great talent with huge energy and enthusiasm,” Beck said. “The natural gifts and excellent personality he is bringing to the role has had us all giddy in rehearsals. I can’t wait to see audiences react to him and our entire cast.”
Beck said there are three main challenges to staging the play.
“First, making The Cat’s mischievous side also playful so the kids love him,” she said “Then, making sure the actors are involving the kids in the audience so they stay in tune and help us tell the story. Finally, creating well-organized chaos.”