Campus Spotlight

The Chappell Players’ fourth and arguably most instructive production this year, The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss not only brought the rhythmic tempo and vibrancy that is characteristic of Seuss’s stories, but incorporated an exuberance that can only be attributed to a true passion for performance.

Composed of four separate stories that each provide their own moral lesson, The Sneetches served as the Chappell Players’ annual children’s play and was performed for elementary school students from surrounding areas.

The first story, “The Sneetches,” presents a race of peculiar, pot-bellied yellow creatures who live on a beach, half of which are adorned with a coveted star on their bellies.

The Sneetches without stars are alienated and ignored, and therefore susceptible to a manipulative marketing scheme formulated by the sly Sylvester McMonkey McBean, played scrupulously by Freshman Justin Phillips, who offers them the chance to use his “Star-On” machine for three dollars each.

When the old star-bellies realize they have no method in distinguishing themselves from the others, McBean provides the opportunity to use his “Star-Off” machine.

This oscillation continues until all Sneetches are left without stars and are able to recognize that neither type is superior.

Told by the articulate and animated narrator “Izzy the Bunny,” played by Sophomore Sarah Goncalves, this story is essentially a parable on prejudice and illuminates the futility of judging others based on race, class or appearance.

Goncalves, who made her debut in a leading role in The Sneetches, explains what separated this show from all the others she’s been part of.

“Narrating the entire story was definitely a new and satisfying experience for me,” said Goncalves. “I fed off the kids’ energy and because I had the most lines, there was considerably more responsibility. I now feel a lot more confident as an actor here.”

The tale of “The Zaxs” underscores the necessity of compromise. In this dynamic and comical scene, a North-going Zax, played by Freshman Alfonso Marquez, and a South-going Zax, played by Freshman Taylor Pedane, find themselves face-to-face and refuse to move around each other.

The two are so stubborn and unyielding that a highway overpass is eventually built around them, and neither one ever reach their respective destination.

Taylor Pedane, who gave a remarkably spirited and masterful performance, attributes his charisma to the enthusiasm of the audience.

“Being in a children’s show gives me the opportunity to believe in unicorns again,” said Pedane. “I can go out there and soak up their energy because their excitement is so real.”

Next came the short story entitled, “Too Many Daves,” which tells the tale of a regretful woman, played by lively Freshman Patrice Bendig, who named all of her 23 sons by the same name.

This demonstrates the consequences of repeatedly making the same mistake. Preceding this was “What Was I Scared Of,” in which Izzy the Bunny encounters an empty and alarming pair of pale-green pants.

When Izzy shrieks from fright, the pants begin to cry, causing her to exclaim, “I was just as strange to them as they were strange to me!”

The message here, which holds particular relevance for college students, is never to shy away from something you are not yet familiar with.

A compelling production from start to finish, The Sneetches and Other Stories was an undisputed success. Junior and Director Jonathon Randhawa cites that part of his satisfaction came from assisting the actors in implementing the techniques they had learned.

“Finding the balance between being a student myself and directing other students was key, as well as making sure everyone was getting their questions answered,” said Randhawa.

“I really enjoyed being able to transfer the knowledge I’ve learned over to them, and then watch them put it to use in their acting.”