OWENSVILLE – The rhyming, the rhythm, the cadence, the lines. The Park District Players were acting just fine.
The Clermont County Park District presented a live-action performance of Dr. Seuss’ ecology tale “The Lorax” as part of its Earth Day celebration April 20.
First published in 1971 and later made into both a 1972 TV special and a 2012 feature film starring Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, Dr. Seuss called the “The Lorax” his favorite among his children’s books.
More than 100 people – many of them youngsters, including several toddlers in pajamas ready for bed right after – visited Pattison Lodge to watch the exploits (and exploitation) of the Onceler.
Speaking for the truffula trees – to say nothing of the bar-ba-loots, humming fish and swomee-swans – the Lorax appeared in an effort to persuade the Onceler to pay attention to the environment as he built a thneed-making empire.
In addition to the short play, guests enjoyed discussion before and after the show, Seuss-themed snacks and drinks, painting garden stones and planting seeds in soil cups to take home to their own gardens. (See video from the event right here.)
“I bet you didn’t know this, but the naturalists here in the Park District are also professional actors,” Lead Naturalist Jana Marshall told the audience with a laugh before curtain. “We’re just back from Broadway.”
Marshall played the mysterious Onceler opposite Naturalist Alyssa Rooks in the title role.
“It makes you think,” Rooks said during the rehearsal process. “The Onceler isn’t a traditional bad guy. He’s just trying to feed his family, but he’s kind of thoughtless. And the Lorax isn’t a traditional good guy. Dr. Seuss says how he’s loud and bossy. People don’t always want to listen to somebody like that.
“This is a good way to get kids to think about and talk about complicated issues like the environment and what we can do to help protect it.”
Park District employees practiced what they preached the next morning; several working at different sites during the county’s annual spring litter clean-up day.
Looking for your own volunteer opportunity to help the environment? Join us from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5, at Kelley Nature Preserve for Green Up Day.
Clermont County Park District naturalists are committed to educating the community on a wide range of subjects for all age groups. Please call Marshall at 513-240-2615 or write firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about available educational offerings.
Mark D. Motz is the Community Relations Manager for the Clermont County Park District. A native Cincinnatian, he has worked for more than 25 years as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. Away from work, he enjoys photography, theater and spending time with his nine godchildren.