Reacting to a Story

Summary:

The play starts with a strange red-and-white striped hat in the center of the stage. A little girl wanders into view and notices the hat, wondering who it might belong to. A cat appears before the girl and tells her she has been brought to life by the “Thinks”. The Cat creates the “Seussian” world and characters around himself, then reveals he is about to tell a story about someone as imaginative as the Girl is.


To begin the story, the Cat encourages the Girl to Think up the Jungle of Nool, where Horton the Elephant is bathing. Horton hears a strange noise coming from a nearby speck of dust, and reasons that there must be someone on it, calling out for help. He carefully places the speck on a soft clover and decides to guard it. but is mocked mercilessly by the Sour Kangaroo and the other animals of the jungle, who do not believe him. The only exceptions are Horton’s bird neighbors, Gertrude, who admires his compassion, and Mayzie, who is more concerned about herself.
At this point, the Cat pushes the Girl into the story; she becomes Jojo, the daughter of the Mayor and his wife. Jojo has been getting into trouble at school for having Thinks, so her parents order her to “take a bath and go to bed and Think some normal Thinks instead.” Jojo blames the Cat for getting her into trouble and tries to send him away. The Cat refuses and persuades Jojo to imagine the tub is a Pool. Jojo inadvertently floods the house, leading the Mayor and his wife to contemplate what to do with their daughter. When the Cat hands them a brochure, they decide to send Jojo to a military school run by General, while there, Jojo meets Horton, and finds a mutual friend in him.
Gertrude, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Horton, but is afraid he does not notice her because of her own tail, which is too short. At the advice of Mayzie, whose tail is enormous and dazzling, she consumes pills which make her tail grow new feathers. Gertrude is so excited that she overdoses, causing her tail to grow long and unwieldy.
Horton is ambushed by the Wickersham Brothers, a three gang of delinquent monkeys, who steal the clover and make off with it; they drop it into a large patch of identical clovers. Undeterred, Horton begins to look for the clover, when Gertrude catches up with him and tries to get him to notice her new tail. Horton is too busy, so she leaves to take more pills. Horton is about to search his three millionth clover when he loses hope. Mayzie, sitting in a nearby tree, offers to help him forget about the clover by hatching an egg that she is too lazy to care for. Horton reluctantly agrees, and Mayzie leaves for a vacation. Horton sits through months of harsh weather.
Horton, still hatching the egg, is auctioned off to the traveling Circus McGurkus. He meets up there with Mayzie, who insists that he keep the egg for himself before leaving. Horton mourns the loss of his clover and Jojo, but vows just as surely to protect the egg as it too is alone without its mother. At the same time, the Mayor and his wife begin to miss Jojo.
Jojo is with General Schmitz and his platoon as the Butter Battle commences. Jojo deserts Schmitz, but sprints into a minefield and vanishes in an explosion. Schmitz assumes the worst and heads to to tell Jojo’s parents that their daughter has died. In reality, Jojo has survived, but is lost with no idea of where to turn. The Cat appears, encouraging her to use his Thinks to find her way home. Jojo does so and happily reunites with her parents, who forgive her for her Thinks.
Gertrude sneaks into the circus to free Horton, explaining she plucked out all but one of her tail feathers to fly there, and confesses her love for him. She also reveals she has found his clover, delighting and relieving Horton to find Jojo. However, the Sour Kangaroo and the Wickersham Brothers arrive to take Horton back to the jungle.
In the jungle, Horton is put on trial for the crimes of “talking to a speck, disturbing the peace, and loitering… on an egg. Desperate, Horton encourages the Whos to make as much noise as possible to prove their existence, but the animals do not hear them. Jojo finally uses his Thinks and shouts loudly enough to reach the animals’ ears.
Finally, the animals hear Jojo and convinced. The animals repent and promise to help protect the Whos, and Horton is acquitted. Jojo is accepted by his parents and the rest of Who-ville as “Thinker Non-Stop” for saving their planet.
(the summary ends here)

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