A Beauty of a Show at Casa Mañana
We have four kids. Sometimes it feels like we have eight.
It’s pretty amazing how hectic and busy life can feel with all of the sports, activities, homework, meal prep, laundry. It’s so easy to get stuck in routine without taking a break and taking a breath. So often people talk about how important it is for spouses to have date nights, to spend some time alone with each other and its very true, that is hugely important. However, I think equally important is spending time alone with each of your kids doing something outside the ordinary routine of life. Some of us are better at this than others. Hats off to the parents who regularly do this! We probably don’t do this kind of thing often enough, and every time we do we realize how important it is. If you have multiple kids like we do you understand how spending time with your kids is vastly different from spending time with one of your kids.
The other night I took my daughter to see Beauty and the Beast at Casa Mañana and we had an absolute ball. We both love the Disney film version of Beauty and the Beast so we were excited to see it performed on stage. We were not disappointed. There’s something about live theatre that grabs you in a way movies just can’t. The actors feed off each other, and the audience and you can tell when they are really into it. Well, the cast of Beauty and the Beast is really into it.
Belle was beautiful and smart with a voice like a songbird. The Beast was angry and scary with pain and fear simmering just beneath the surface. Lumiere and Cogsworth were hilarious and played off each other perfectly. You wish you could take Mrs. Potts home with you because she’s always going to make everything okay. When my daughter saw Chip come on stage, she leaned over to me, and in an excited voice verging on a squeal, she said, “Oh! He’s so cute!” All the characters we know and love came to life on the stage before us, and it was thrilling.
However, my husband has always maintained that Gaston is the best character in the film; deceptive complexity lurks beneath his brash exterior. At first he appears to be just a caricature of the hometown hero; egotistical bluster and self-indulgent presumption. He simply assumes Belle will be his to possess as that is clearly his right. When that assumption is challenged, we see the real Gaston, and as is usually the case with bullies, he collapses into ugly, monomaniacal hate that manifests as a purely destructive force. Gaston, although odious and tedious in the beginning, is undeniably entertaining. His downward spiral, however, is scarier by far than the Beast ever could be, and it is his devolution that drives the entire story. Because of this, my husband also maintains that Gaston, of all the characters in Beauty and the Beast, would be the most fun and interesting for an actor to play. After watching the stage production of Beauty and the Beast, I agree wholeheartedly, but mostly because of the performance of the actor who plays Gaston. I hesitate to say he stole the show; there are no weak links in the entire ensemble, but he owns that character in a way I’ve rarely seen. His performance, and his portrayal of Gaston, was nothing short of amazing!
So go! Grab one of your kids and go see Beauty and the Beast at Casa Mañana while you can. Magic always happens at the theatre and magic always happens when you take one of your kids out of the mix for some one-on-one time. For that time, however long or short it is, they don’t have to compete with their siblings for your attention. They get you all to themselves and that gives them confidence to really be themselves. They open up about friends and school. They tell you about their thoughts and dreams. They listen closely when you tell them about yours. It’s a very special time when the bond is reestablished and strengthened. I for one will be making a concerted effort to do it more often.