Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Play Day

Here are the opening pages of a play I wrote in mid-June for the play writing circle at the Ottawa Little Theatre. We have ceased meeting for the summer so I shall finish this play, which is named, People Want to Marvel.

It is about Dr. Seuss, the writer of children's books from the thirties on. 
In looking into his background, I find that he was not the saintly kids' book writer we grew up thinking he was.  Instead, he was a con-artist, a drinker, a university drop-out, and a philanderer.

I have written the play from the viewpoint of his dead wife, Helen Palmer Seuss, who committed suicide because of him and his adulterous ways. 

I have tried to write it in Seuss's inimitable style using internal and end rhymes and trying for the trochaic rhythm he wrote in and using portmanteau words.

From Wikipedia:

About Helen's death, Seuss's niece Peggy commented: "Whatever Helen did, she did it out of absolute love for Ted. Peggy called Helen's death "her last and greatest gift to him."

I have to wonder what Helen's niece might have said about her aunt's suicide if asked. 

Ted and Helen below at their house in  La Jolla.
Audrey Stone Dimond Geisel
Theodor "Ted" Seuss Geisel


Helen Palmer Seuss
Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel
Audrey Stone Dimond Geisel (also written Diamond)

SETTING: To be determined


My name is Helen Palmer Seuss
I'm not a shiksa, I'm a Jewess.
Older than he by six measly years,
Go ahead, leer, I have no fear
He a tender 23 but no matter to me,
for Ted did not like the patter
of tiny, shiny little feet
so family be damnly
it's drawing and writing he likes
not kids, cats, dogs or bikes


You have 'em, I'll entertain 'em,


he said, before I was dead,
Mister oh so cavalier Ted.

Thus he and me, the bees knees
We wrote children's tales,
I, a kiddie writer, too
Caught up with the true sky blue
and yellow mellow fellows.
Along with Ted, I wrote and wrote and he drew and drew
Both of us concocting,
Nonsense rhymes for you, hoo, hoo,
You and your darling brood.

God saw it and it was good.


I was born 1904, Theodor, no e, in Springfield, Mass. 
One fine day in the US of A.
A Seuss and a Geisel, not mother/father torn
I carried both names, Theodor Seuss Geisel,
And along the way, college-bound,
At Dartmouth college, into the fray myself I threw
Reconnoitering Geisel family brew masters of lore
My parental background to bring to the fore
when party, party, hearty in the dorm
Me and nine classmates did thereby imbibe
Drink, drink, drunk, gin's not a sin,
My forebears pleased to think, think, thunk
that little Ted, Theo, Teddy, dear ME
Would eschew common beer and have a ball
Steering pupils and groupils to
drink drink and drink some more
Anti-prohibitionist hard alcohol. 


Dartmouth was mad at this bad lad
No fool, the school, they laid down the law,


No, no, no to cartooning and mooning.
T. Geisel, don't sass us we've told your 'steemed paw and it stuck in his craw.
Like it or not, you better stop this folly,
And get on with school, by golly,

Drinking in the dorm is not the norm
It's simply BAD form!
Ted, dead head Ted
You will not last, you will not pass!
Cease all nonsense or your ass is grass.