'The Lorax' comes to the Columbia Sustainable Living Fair

Saturday, October 17, 2009 | 6:49 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A Dr. Seuss classic came to life at the Sustainable Living Fair with a few recyclable materials and a cast of Columbia College students.

At the fair on Saturday, Director Nollie Moore and the Columbia College Elysium Players brought "The Lorax" to a crowd of young environmentalists.

The recycled set laid the groundwork for Seuss’ tale. First published in 1971, it tells a story of how a beautiful forest was trashed by the Once-ler, a greedy entrepreneur. The performance was one of several activities the fair offered for children.

“I built the Once-ler’s house in my garage out of recyclable materials, with a refrigerator box and insulated Styrofoam,” Moore said.

Kyra Barnart, 11, enjoyed watching the characters dance and sing.

“I read the story a lot to my brother and sister,” Barnart said. “I thought it was a lot like it.”

Barnart and the rest of the audience witnessed the Lorax, the Once-ler and an array of fictional animals spring from the pages of Seuss’ book to tell their tale through song and dance.

“The little kids really enjoyed it,” cast member Bailey Dowell said. “I liked looking out and seeing their faces.”

The final minutes of the play leave the audience with a strong message about what can happen when pollution becomes uncontrollable.

“I like the message at the end,” Dowell said. “It’s sad, but it’s a good message”

The set illustrated the decay with a series of colorful panels that were flipped over as the Once-ler’s greed slowly let the forest die.

Moore said that as a Columbia College club, the Elysium Players must complete a service project. He said the group is considering sharing the show with elementary schools as part of its project.

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