Saturday, June 20, 2009

Both a little scared, neither one prepared

So, I took my eight year old niece to see "Beauty and the Beast" last night. It was at an an outdoor theatre in the park, and we went last Saturday, but due to heavy rains, they wrapped after the Gaston song and sent everybody home. But last night, the weather was perfect, warm, cloudless, starry, with a light breeze reminding me of how it must feel for the rest of you to be alive and have hope in your hearts and possibilities in your tomorrows.

Regardless, there were some brief moments of peaceful unmisery last night, and I had a feeling I could be someone, I could be someone.

The play is much, much longer than the film was, with virtually every character expanded, and the Beast given a couple of heartbreaking songs, and Belle practically singing rather than speaking lines. Was it too long? Hmmm, maybe. Certainly the extended "Human Again" and the uber-extended "Be Our Guest" went on and on, but then, I'm not one for lengthy dance numbers.

But the wolf attack and the fight sequences sort of evened that out.

It was so bloody magical and beautiful that it made me feel both special to be experiencing it, and unspecial in that I had no part of it, and that nothing I create could ever be of that calibre. But ah well.

After the show, the crowd (which was probably half children, a third teens, two percent Senior Citizens, and fifteen percent regular people) was invited to meet the cast, and my niece wanted to do so. Lumiere stayed in character (accent included), and my niece was afraid of Gaston (but not of Monsieur D'Arque, oddly enough).

The line for Belle was longer than all the others, and we ended up there last. I watched in skeptical wonder as a blind guy in a wheelchair spoke to her (and the Beast) for a moment, then reached out and felt their faces. That was a little surreal.*

Immediately before us in the line was a white woman with a little black daughter, and the child kept hugging Belle and wouldn't let go. That was pretty darn moving, and it reminded me of when my niece was tiny and would practically octopus onto Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or Hanukkah Harry or whoever we'd take her to meet in the mall.

Watching the little black girl, I figure that that girl will adopt Tiana from PRINCESS & THE FROG as her new favorite Disney princess in a couple of years, but right now, color means nothing to her.

The world is a cruel and ugly place most of the time, and I probably add to that. But going to see this production was nice, and I enjoyed myself easily as much as my eight year old niece. Maybe even as much as that blind guy.

Rish "Cogsworth" Outfield

*As long as he only asked to touch Belle's face, I guess I believe he really was blind. For a second, however . . .

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