Adventure, romance, mystery and magic come to life on stage in Beauty and the Beast
by Mina Frannea
Watching the beautiful puppets come to life in Beauty and the Beast performed by the Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts is a treat in itself. They look so realistic that it’s easy to forget that we’re watching puppets perform. The sets are simple, but effective and the intimate theater setting at Dallas Children’s Theater is perfect for this show.
This version of Beauty and the Beast is an original adaptation and is about a father, Jacques, who is a shipping merchant by trade and who dotes on his daughters, especially his youngest named Beauty. Beauty’s two older sisters, Joy and Hope, are a bit shallow and focused more on material things such as fine clothes and jewelry, whereas Beauty is content with simple, everyday things like planting a rose garden and befriending a duck called Hector who lends humor to several scenes tormenting the older sisters.
The family is left destitute and has to move to the country after their merchant ships are lost at sea due to a storm. By a miraculous twist of fate, one ship returns to port several months later and Jacques travels to the port city to see what is salvageable. He promises to bring back something for each daughter. Joy and Hope ask for jewelry, clothes and a fine horse and carriage, but all beauty asks for is a rose. This is significant to her future destiny, but she doesn’t know it yet.
Disappointed with his discovery that not much was salvageable from his ship, Jacques journeys home, only to get lost in a storm which leads to a chance discovery of a castle where he takes refuge for the night. There is no one about but he finds a fire to warm himself and a table set with a meal. When he wakes the next morning, the father discovers that his wet clothes have been replaced with dry ones and he has been provided with a horse to continue his journey home. As he starts to leave, Jacques spies a rose garden. Remembering his promise to Beauty, he stops to pluck a single rose. Suddenly, he hears an ominous roar and a great beast appears and threatens to take his life for stealing the rose. After listening to Jacques explain his story, the Beast allows the father to go home, but insists that he or a member of his family return to stay at the castle indefinitely as penance for stealing the rose. Jacques can’t bear the thought of losing any of his daughters so he decides to come back himself after saying goodbye to his family. When he explains what happened to his daughters, Beauty insists on returning and there is nothing that the father can say to dissuade her.
Despite Beauty’s dream of meeting and marrying a handsome prince, she grows to love the fearsome beast by looking past his outward appearance and learning to see his true nature of goodness, kindness, generosity and intelligence. And because of her love, the curse is broken and the Beast transforms into his true self which is none other than Beauty’s dream prince!
The message of Beauty and the Beast is about love, hope and looking beyond the superficial. Kathy Burks and company have done a terrific job telling the story with their enchanting puppet characters.
After the show, your whole family can enjoy meeting the master puppeteers and see the beautiful puppets up close. Bring your camera for photos with the cast too.
Catch Beauty and the Beast through March 30th at Dallas Children’s Theater. This heart warming tale is sure to capture your heart.
Mina Frannea is an online media professional. She is the editor and social media manager at North Texas Kids Magazine as well as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for Actor Richard Hatch. Mina enjoys the Arts, Sci-Fi, new technology, cooking, enlightening discussions and sharing relevant information on her blog TheMomsJournal. Mina also provides PR services for conventions and other events.