The Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia is presenting Beauty and the Beast, a classic Disney tale in a not so classic way.
This rendition, written by British playwright Charles Way, follows the basic story line that we all know. To repay a debt, Belle is sent to live with the Beast and the two eventually fall in love.
"But I think what's fascinating about this version," says Associate Artistic Director Matthew Decker, "is that he drew a lot of influences from the original French fairytale, but also kind of puts his own spin on this tale."
With no way to recreate the sheer size and opulence of the Beast's castle or the dense forest that surrounds it on stage, the play uses shadow play to set the scene.
"All the scenery, all the props, a lot of the effects of the play are done with cardboard shadow puppets. So when we go into the castle it's created with shadows that are projected up against the curtains in the set," says Decker, "We ask the audience to use their imagination and to help us create the environment in which the play takes place."
In its children's theatre, as on the main stage, the Arden uses professional designers and actors with the goal, Decker says, of giving children a world-class theatre experience.
"We really want to give kids and their families' direct access to the work that we're doing on our stages...we think that that will hopefully create life-long arts enthusiasts."
Beauty and the Beast runs through February 8th. For tickets go to www.ArdenTheatre.org.
Beauty and the Beast at the Arden Theater- 6abc Loves the Arts
Beauty and the Beast runs through February 8th. For tickets go to www.ArdenTheatre.org