A deep breath, a sigh at the sight of Aurora’s sky predawn. Gathering thoughts, seeing bare branches of treetops and rooftops in silhouette on our town’s skyline. High above to the left, Venus shines steady, bright and full of promise. In a matter of minutes the big, blinding energy ball rises; a sunny morning! And after tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day is upon us. Seems to have arrived so quickly this year. I’m so grateful for it. So grateful for this life. I’m part of a great company doing so much good for our community.
The finest current example of that is the work right now playing Paramount’s stage, the grand and inspired, Beauty and the Beast. This production is giving us a moment. Think. Full of laughter and music, the fairy tale is yet so purposeful in its metaphor: a castle’s inhabitants under a spell as they slowly turn into household objects. There is a ravishing waltz late in Act 2 that can sweep you off your feet and make your head spin if you let it. As the servants are changing into various items; feather dusters, candlesticks, etc., they raise their voices, compelling and poignant, singing in hopes of being “Human Again.” As with the most enduring fairy tales, the story comes from a dark place within our psyche. We watch the prince as The Beast, ashamed and bitter, suffer the curse due to his heart void of love and charity for the Beggar Woman/Enchantress. Losing the ability to love, one loses the ability to be human. Our humanity is defined by love and empathy. As that humanity is draining away, we observe their desperate, rhapsodic longing to feel with all their heart. But we are watching them slowly become inanimate. Lifeless.
Lumiere: “We will never be human again.”
Mrs. Potts: “Well, we can’t give up. I won’t give up until I hear the sound of my boy’s laughter as he runs through these halls again.”
Cogsworth: “Hold on, old man. We’ve got to hold on.”
May you all bask in the light of love and your humanity this holiday. Spread it around. These can be hard times.
Almost every musical is a love story. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen an audience root more for two lost loves to be together than in our theater right now with Belle and the Beast. Mrs. Potts little one, Chip, begins to tingle:
“I have a funny feeling inside. I don’t know what it is but it makes me feel kind of bubbly.”
“I hope so, son, I’ve been feeling it too.”
When the Beast lets Belle go to her father, Mrs. Potts turns to us and says:
“After all this time, he’s finally learned to love.”
And the spell is broken. Everyone lives happily ever after. What was lost, now is found. May you all bask in the light of love and your humanity this holiday. Spread it around. These can be hard times. Now when it gets to me, I recall Cogsworth’s rally, “Hold on, old man. We’ve got to hold on.”