Interview with Traysie Amick, SCCT’s Cat in the Hat

by Margaret Butler

cat in the hat selects 11 scaled 1 - Interview with Traysie Amick, SCCT's Cat in the Hat

South Carolina Children’s Theatre’s beloved production of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat is returning to the Bell MainStage March 4th – 13th! Join us as we bring the magical story to life! Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat leaps off the page with dynamic sets, onstage stunts and tricks, and a mischievous cat who turns a rainy day into a day full of adventure! Our production is recommended for children ages, K3-5th Grade. 

For a fun sneak peek of what you can expect at the show, we sat down with SCCT’s Principal Teaching Artist, and star of The Cat in the Hat, Traysie Amick:

How long have you been playing the Cat?

I started playing the Cat in 1999 before I started working full time at South Carolina Children’s Theatre. I was asked by Debbie Bell to wear the Cat in the Hat costume in the lobby to entertain kids before shows. After that, I continued as the Cat in the Character Breakfast for 20 years! Last year, I was the Cat in Characters in Concert and will revive that role in the 2nd Annual Event, too. I also played the Cat in SCCT’s 2015 production!

How does SCCT bring this classic story to life?

Looking at the book, you might never know that it would be possible for the magic to come to life on stage! How will the Cat pull off stunts on stage? How will the fish character translate into reality? In SCCT’s 2015 production the then-artistic team (Betsy Bisson, Kim Granner, and Jef Lambin) figured out how to conceive the magic here at SCCT. Seven years later, the magical moments are cleaner and tighter. Hopefully, it will be even more of an adventure in 2022!

What will kids love most about Cat in the Hat?

Kids are going to love the cartoon sound effects, the objects flying across the stage, and the fact that things magically appear and disappear. With pantomime and sleight of hand, audiences will see all kinds of cool magical things happen, especially things you should never do in a house that everyone wants to do in the house! 

Why is this a good show for young children?

I think The Cat in the Hat encourages a sense of play and openness to ideas. Oftentimes, people are uncomfortable with vulnerability and making mistakes. The Cat often makes a mess but then takes responsibility for its actions. There’s a wonderful power and freedom in letting loose, playing, tearing things up, and allowing the house to be a mess – just to see if you can put it back together again. Who knows? Maybe you find better places the next time! 

What’s your favorite moment in the show?

As an actor, my favorite moment is my entrance. It has a  “jump off the diving board” sensation. The show starts so tense, tight, and almost quiet. It’s like when you pull a toy car back and it gets tight and then you let it go and it just goes and goes and goes! It’s a rainy day and the kids are moping in front of the window with nothing to do. Cat enters and asks the kids, “Why do you sit there like that?” It’s a beautiful rainy day. Immediately, the first question says ‘don’t limit yourself, you have options.’ It’s a great way to approach life! 

As a teacher, my favorite moment is when Cat tells Thing 1 and Thing 2 that they no longer can play. It feels like the end of acting class! Cat’s responsible side shines through at this moment and the very young will deeply empathize with this feeling of having to clean up and stop the fun.

Why is The Cat in the Hat a perfect introduction for young ones to get involved in theatre?

First of all, it is very well-timed! The show happens right before our summer camp session. If a child sees the show and says, “I want to do that!” then they have week after week of opportunity to start where they’re comfortable. We host a variety of themed summer camps that allow kids to find a theme that feels safe – maybe it’s Hogwarts or Sing Disney? Then they can edge into new classes and experiences beyond their comfort zone. Although a new experience may be overwhelming or challenging, kids will walk away feeling braver than they were before! 

Don’t wait! Grab your tickets today!

Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat runs at South Carolina Children’s Theatre from March 4th – 13th with showtimes at 10:30 am, 2:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 7:00 pm, Tickets are $20. Box office: 864-235-2885 or scchildrenstheatre.org. SCCT will require all patrons ages 2 and up to wear masks while indoors at any SCCT performance.