Beauty and the Beast is being presented at my high school this weekend. I haven't been to a musical since, well, maybe since I was in high school thirty some years ago. My intent for wanting to go was two-fold. I have a friend whose daughter is in the show; she is a senior, and it would be my last opportunity to see her perform. The other reason was to show live drama to my younger son. If you have followed my blog, you might have read about my Gentle Giant. He has autism, but he has decided he wants to pursue broadcasting as a possible career. Drama might benefit his goals, so I have worked on him for over a week to convince him to attend. Finally yesterday, he agreed to go to the opening show last night.
I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe I was still remembering my little high school's productions of the 70's, but I was not prepared for what I saw on stage last night. These students with adult help had transformed the auditorium into a place of magic. The many sets were impressive, but the Beast's Castle was phenominal! Multi-layered with two large staircases and huge entry doors, it consumed the entire stage. It had to be spacious to allow the characters in their extreme costumes a way to negotiate their way around the stage. Did I mention the costumes? They were marvelous. What creativity to make Cogsworth, Lumiere, Babette, Mrs. Potts, Madame DeLa Grande Bouche, and Beast come to life! And Chip...how could I forget a real person turned into a teacup!
The kids did an excellent job. I'm sure there were flubs in lines because I remember my own days on the stage, but they covered everything well. From where I was seated in the back (last minute tickets, remember), there were times I couldn't hear the singers very well. But we laughed our way through the dialogue, swayed to the music with the dancers, and sat on the edge of our seats to see what would happen, even though we knew the story already. My friend's daughter was great in the role of Babette. A past student took on the role of Beast. (I knew his antics in the classroom would come to something. Plus, he has wanted to act since I first met him as a first grader in Reading Buddies.)
My goal for attending was met. I was able to see Babette. The Boy was able to see the musical. I don't know if he will ever want to be in a show himself, but at least he has seen what the kids do. In the midst of it all, I was reminded of the theme of Beauty and the Beast. We have to look beyond the outer appearance to see what a person truly is. As I go through my days, that is something that I want to remember. I want to look for the true person in my students. I want to look beyond the attitude, the words, the behavior, the clothing styles and to find the beauty in each of my "beasts".