Tag Archives: theater

The 12th Speaker

I have been in the drama business for quite a few years. I coach it for students in my school, I have seen my own daughters involved in it and I write drama pieces as well. I know how hard it is to break in.

I’ve seen my daughters through a lot of action, so far. I remember well the time Stefanie piled her then-blond hair up in a bouncy pony-tail and played the wide-eyed, original ditzy girl in a community play. It was one of my favorite performances and it was hysterical because that was so not her, so it meant she could act. I remember Tracie’s first part which required her to simply drop a pail and look astonished. I remember thinking, “Well, was it just me, or was she pretty good at that?” It wasn’t just me…the next thing I knew my little bucket-dropper had the lead in the Christmas pageant.

I’ve been through many enjoyable performances since then. I wasn’t aware, however, that the family performance tradition might take in another generation. My two grandsons had begun the rite of passage of singing in school programs before I knew it and I was missing them, one after another. Of, of course I got to see video of it, but neither boy looked like they had a future on the stage. The older one looked unenthused and the younger one appeared to be fairly hostile.

That was, until this summer. By some miracle of scheduling, I was able to see my grandsons for the first time in their program…an end-of-vacation-Bible school extravaganza, complete with wild, tie-dyed shirts and orange and yellow headbands. I was elated. The younger one was going to be doing some singing and actions and the older one was going to speak!

Some of the older students had the main parts in the Biblical story of Daniel and the three faithful who were tossed in the furnace. The part of King Nebuchadnezzar was played by a feisty young lady with a real feel for the dramatic flair (take it from an old drama coach). But I was excited for my grandson, Royce’s part.

He came out and danced and went through the actions and words of the songs, which went very well. I got loads of pictures, fighting all the other parents and grandparents to get just the right shot. I even got some shots of my younger grandson, less hostile than normal, as he, too, joined in the singing.

“Here comes his part,” I whispered to my husband, excitedly.

“What part is he playing?” asked the proud Mama snapping pictures of her little ones beside me.

“He is Speaker Number 12,” I announced proudly and just then, he stepped up and in ringing, clear tones pronounced his one line and then moved aside to allow Speaker Number 13 to speak.

“Did you hear that?” I asked my husband. “He spoke loudly and clearly and right on time.”

“He didn’t even use the microphone,” his grandfather said, bursting with pride. “He’s a natural.”

So now, I add to the memory of his mother as the ditzy blond and his aunt as the astonished bucket dropper, the memory of my little orange and yellow flame-covered thespian in the memorable role of “Speaker Number 12.” You don’t think it’s too soon to book my tickets for his Broadway debut, do you?

 

 

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Beauty and the Beast? Yeah, right!

Okay, I love a good impossible fantasy-type love story as much as the next guy, but honestly, Disney may be pushing my credulity just a little too far. This weekend I stood in a chilly line outside the movie theater so that I could get in to the latest version of Beauty and the Beast. However, there were a few questions that entered my cynical mind while I was watching.

Beauty and the Beast

Official Disney Movie Poster Copyright Disney Studios http://movies.disney.com/beauty-and-the-beast-2017

For a girl who is looked down on by the town, everyone seemed to know her. They greeted her in a friendly manner, asked about her activities and her day and though I saw little or nothing unusual about her there, the townspeople broke into song about how odd she was. I don’t find it odd that she read books and avoided Gaston whenever possible, but the fact that all she wants her father to bring her back from the market is a rose…now that’s odd.

Then there was the issue of the castle. I could take that it was winter all the time. I could even accept that it was surrounded by wolves. Even a crabby beast lurking in the shadows would be creepy but not too far out. But the second the candlestick invited me to dinner and my tea cup started talking, I’d have been out of there. Eaten by a wolf? Much better than having a conversation with your singing dresser drawers!

Beyond that is the interesting question of the looks of the key characters. We are asked to believe that the gift of a library and a snowball fight was all it took to make Belle overlook the fact that the object of her affection was a character who looked like a cross between a raging bull and Lucifer himself. Even that may be credible, but a union between a human and this “beast” would have been difficult to sustain. Would they live in the cold castle filled with creepy talking furnishings or would they go and live in the village where people already described Belle as odd?

Looks were a key consideration throughout the movie, but I couldn’t help wondering about the reverse question: What would have happened if Belle had been the beast and the prince was expected to fall in love with her anyway? Now, you have to admit there are many more stories out there where beautiful girls marry less than perfect looking, but wonderful men, than beautiful men who marry girls without looks.

A cynic (and I sometimes am one) might suspect that Belle took a look at the giant and ornate castle and its fine accoutrements  and decided she could overlook a furry physique and a couple of horns for a lavish lifestyle. I prefer the romantic point of view, however; I think Belle falling for a horrific beast who then turned into her Prince Charming is very romantic—if not very believable.

Lastly, I don’t want to leave out the mob in the “small provincial town.” Shakespeare seemed always to write his plays with utter contempt for the fickle and clueless mob. This story takes up that issue as well. The mobs follow Gaston when he locks up Maurice for suggesting that there is a monster and then just as faithfully follow him along when he decides that not only is there a monster, but they must kill it. This makes the mob even more stupid than Gaston and twice as gullible!

Okay, I guess this is the last of my questions, but as for the movie of Beauty and the Beast, I really did enjoy it. I spent the days after I went to the movie singing the songs and dancing around the house with sheets draped around me like Belle’s dress and holding conversations with my kitchenware…but don’t worry, nothing has so far talked back! Have a great week and go and see Beauty and the Beast for a fantasy treat!

 

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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