Shannon Hoyt —
Everyone has a little Seymour Krelboyne in them. What do I mean exactly? Well, Seymour is simply a character in a fabricated world. And though he may not exist physically, the parts that define him and his struggles remain immediate.
Seymour, played by University of Wisconsin–Stout student, Theodore Linder, lives in the narrative, “Little Shop of Horrors,” the spring musical presented by the university theater.
“‘Little Shop of Horrors’ tells the story of a young man’s life on Skid Row and his thirst for becoming bigger and better,” said Director of Theater, Paul Calenberg. “It’s really Seymour’s story.”
Spending most of his time surrounded by flowers, Seymour is introduced to an unusual plant, one of alien origin. In order to raise the creature, he must nurse the plant, which is soon referred to as Audrey II, with human flesh and blood.
“[Students] will really be able to relate to the central character and what they are going through,” added Calenberg.
Now I know students aren’t going around feeding giant mutated plants with human body parts. At least I hope not. However, the struggle that exists in Seymour’s mind is relatively similar to the conflict students face when confronting self-discovery.
Seymour desires notoriety, reputation, wealth, fame and the list continues. However, his character development begins with a question of identity. Seem familiar?
The introduction of the musical conveys Seymour as nothing more than an introvert; a mind torn between what is ethical. His lack of association off Skid Row limits his connections to a mere few: a fatherly figured boss, the women of his dreams, a couple street bums and a narcissistic dentist, who finds amusement in pulling teeth.
Students unavoidably encounter conflict, whether it is a bad grade, a criticism or even a rejection. These ideas represent the antagonistic characters preventing Seymour’s journey to becoming realized.
“The plant is obviously getting into his head and telling him, ‘the only way you’re going to be successful is if you cut corners,’” said Linder.
The plant may have control of Seymour’s mind, but characters like Orin, the self-absorbed dentist, have control over Seymour’s pride, a scenario indistinguishable from the student versus prosperity endeavor.
“My character just wants to watch the world burn,” added Gus Johnson, UW–Stout student playing the role of Orin.
There are always going to be characters and obstacles similar to the antagonists, Audrey II and Orin, of Little Shop of Horrors. However, the Seymour part of us evolves into something of success through triumph and discovery.
“We want to find our place in the world,” said Linder, in regards to the production’s characters. “And I think that’s what a lot of other students want too.”
The second half of performances will show family weekend, April 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Harvey Hall Theater. Tickets are $12.