Families enjoy Parkrose High’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

There’s time to go see this romantic stage production of an age-old love story that carries a message, while providing a wonderful theatrical experience. Look at photos from the show, and you’ll see why you should order tickets – online – right now …

Beauty” (Felicia Seery, far left) hears the bad news brought to her brothers and sisters about their family’s waning fortunes from their father, Jean Louis (Jason Newman, far right) in Parkrose High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Those who’ve seen Parkrose High School Thespian Troupe #1783 fall production, Beauty and the Beast, will most likely agree: This show is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit.

But, with only a special matinee performance on November 14 at 2:00 p.m. – and just two evening shows, on November 19 and 20, at 7:00 p.m. – you’ll need to make plans to see it right now.

After finding out that his crooked partners stole the family fortune, Jean Louis ends up in magical castle of The Beast (Oly Arellano). But, the Beast’s grinning mechanical man (Jackson Singleton – yes, he’s green) has some very bad news for Jean Lewis.

Beauty must make a difficult decision, to save her father and her family from destruction.

Beauty and the Beast opened on November 13 with a cast of about 70 actors and a technical staff of ten.

“This isn’t an adaptation of the 1991 Walt-Disney-produced musical animated film,” said Ms. Zina, the school’s theater instructor, and the show’s director. “It is based on the original fairy tale, La Belle et la Bête by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, first published in French in 1740. The first version in English came out in 1757.”

The show onstage in Parkrose High’s professionally-equipped theater is an adaptation by Laurence Boswell, Zena explained. “Boswell adapted it for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the National Theatre in London, for their 2003 Holiday season. It was so popular; they repeated it in 2004, with additions and slight variations to their original script.”

A White Witch (Kenzie Billick Smith) and a mysterious young man come to Beauty in a series of dreams, each more troubling and odd than the next – but each bears essential for her.

Although his behavior is uncouth, the Beast shows kindness by presenting Beauty with one of his prize roses.

When Beauty tells the Beast she wants to leave his Castle, the invisible (to her) White Witch threatens to do away her!

Zena said the students chose this particular play because the work has “an incredibly romantic feel to it. It isn’t sappy, in a way little kids or adults won’t enjoy; it has a balance of romance and drama. And no, there is no teapot.”

After seeing the show, we can assure, you won’t miss the teapot at all!

The show provides a good challenge for the Parkrose High Theater students, Zena said, because of the variety of performances required in the show.

The colorful costumes, emotionally-evocative music, and contemporary pacing make this a great evening of theater.

Beauty is allowed to leave, on her promise she’ll return. However, she’s caught between her conniving sisters and solicitous brothers when it’s time for her to rejoin the Beast.

Alas, Beauty’s tardy return causes the death of the Beast.

There is a happy ending – but you’ll have to come to the show to see how it all works out!

The questions remain:

  • Will the main characters, Beauty and Beast, gain a better appreciation of their families? Will their families learn to accept them?
  • Is it possible for Beauty to trust – with more than just what she sees with her eyes?

Come find out, don’t miss the final performances!

We agree with Ms. Zina – this show gets “thumbs up!”

Plays two more nights
Beauty and the Beast continues on the evenings of November 19 and 20, with a 7:00 p.m. curtain time. And, there’s a special matinee performance tomorrow, Saturday, November 14 at 2:00 p.m. (no evening show on that date).

Buy your tickets online! CLICK HERE! Or, arrive early and get them at the door. Prices are still just $8; for those 18 & under, or 65+, $5.

The Parkrose High School Theater is located at 12003 NE Shaver Street, near NE 122nd Avenue.

The cast takes a well-deserved curtain call.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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