Posted by: LucidMystery | January 7, 2008

Magical Theater

 

I had my first playwriting class today, and I already agree with Brianna that Joshi is pretty awesome! He was fun, encouraged dialogue, and made it clear that we should not all freak out about our plays (ie, length, deadlines, etc.) I think I’m going to really like this class, whether or not I write an Tony-worthy script 😉

There was another reason I already have felt an affinity towards this class, though. While Joshi was asking us all to share a memorable moment regarding the theater, he helped me to remember a most beautiful moment that I encountered back in high school when I was attending a play at the Ohio Theater. Although I know I will never forget those few seconds were I was utterly pulled into the world on the stage, that evening just hadn’t come to mind in such a long time that remembering it today was like recalling a dream from years past. It was wistful; I wanted to go back to the moment where I was sitting in my red velvet seat under the elaborate chandelier while music was carrying me away to a world where magic was real and everyone lived happily ever after. Let me share that night with you…

I was 17. The Broadway version Beauty and the Beast was performing in Columbus, and I had gone to see it with my best friend and her mother. “Beauty and the Beast?” you laugh. Yes, Beauty and the Beast, and I have never yet seen an equal, not even after Phantom of the Opera. The transition from cartoon to the stage was flawless. Although definite reminders that this particular version had once been meant for children (such as slap-stick humor) were evident sporadically, those moments were infrequent and endearing enough that they only added to the beauty that was the performance. All through the play, I tried to soak up as much of the enchantment as I could, knowing that once it was over, I would want to recall every detail.

Though arguably not the story’s climax, but more or less the turning point, the ballroom scene hit me like a spell. An older woman’s voice sang the audience through the emotions of Belle and the Beast as they danced across a mist-covered stage. Belle’s elegant gown shimmered in the romantic lighting, and the Beast’s every movement reflected the tragic pull he felt between the man he wanted to be and the animal he was trapped as. As the two waltzed across the stage and into an imaginary realm, I forgot about the people around me, how my knees were buckling into the seat ahead of me, how the real world existed right outside the double doors. All I knew was the music…the sadness…the hope…and the love. Without the thought even entering my mind that nothing like this could every remotely be real, I was lost in the fantasy and tears were running down my cheeks.

Of course, what this means is that the actors on stage were exceptional; the costume designer had been perfect; the lighting director knew how best accentuate the choreography and colors on stage; and the entire company simply knew how best tell a fantastic story. I realize this. But at the same time, there really was this indescribable force that wrapped me into the story before I could realize what was happening. By the time Belle and the Beast reached the ballroom, I was too far gone into their world to be conscious of anything else while they were dancing.

Oh if only life were a fairy tale. Where else could a girl find that amazing of a dress, win the heart of a prince, and spend a moonlit evening waltzing on the balcony of a castle? But if I want all the magic, I have to be prepared for all the magic. I suppose I might be weirded out if my feather dusters could talk and my candlebras sang and danced while I ate dinner.

But at least I could enjoy just those minutes of living in a fairy tale, those few moments of the magical theater.

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