Beauty and the Beast Arthur Dirks
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Beauty and the Beast

Produced: April, 1979
Wayne State College
Director: Hellen Russell
Scenery: Arthur Dirks
Facility:Ramsey Auditorium

This was a 1-hour production for young audiences bused in from area schools. It takes place entirely in the palace of the Beast, but with a curtained and scrimmed "magic window" to see events transpiring elsewhere.

There were several challenges in this production. The Beast underwent transformation to a human on stage and in view. The beast had a big furry head shaped in Celastic, and brown gloves. We staged the change in a puff of smoke behind the center fountain, which also served as a handy seat. The fountain was a champaigne table fountain. There also is a fairy godmother who appears bringing hope and magic, appearing and disappearing in a puff of smoke.

In 1978 there were few commercial applications for this. I figured out how to wrap the leads to a model rocket igniter with a small square of tissue containing a tiny amount of black powder. These were hung over the edge of 4" ceramic flower pots that were clamped below holes in the platforms. The holes were covered with hardware cloth. Power leads from each pot went to a multi-switch panel. There were six pots across the archway entrance up right, and another 2 or 3 in fountain. Generally, they worked well when cleaned well. The only incident arose because the switches were not momentary, and on one occasion the entire group fired when the controller was plugged in.

Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast

© 2007 Arthur L. Dirks