At this time a week ago, I was getting ready to go to Brodbeck and warm up for Seussical the Musical. While I loved being in Seussical, I got to thinking about one of the main characters, Gertrude, and her one-feathered tail.
I like the message of Gertrude’s arc. Mayzie La Bird comes through and tells Gertrude that she can get Horton’s attention if she goes to the doctor and gets a bigger tail. Even though the doctor tells Gertrude that her tail is just right for her kind of bird, Gertrude demands a bigger tail in order to get Horton to notice her. Not only does it not work,, but she can’t fly with such a big tail. She eventually goes back to the doctor and reverts back to her one-feathered tail, making her able to fly and save Horton’s clover, which in turn makes him notice her.
At the heart of this plot is the very Dr. Seuss-esque message that you shouldn’t change yourself for someone else. You have to be you, and have faith in your talents and abilities; the rest will follow. Now, that’s an excellent message, and I think the play puts it forward quite nicely.
Of course, I still have reservations on the plot in a bigger sense. Mainly, why does Gertrude’s whole plot actually center around Horton? I like that in the end she realizes she was never cut out for a big tail, and she’s at her best going with what’s true to her. But at the same time, Gertrude is only in the play because of Horton. She serves no purpose on her own; every appearance is either about how she wants Horton to notice her or how she is helping Horton save the clover.
Why can’t Gertrude be in the story for Gertrude’s sake?