BEAUTY and THE BEAST
Beauty and the Beast is an amalgam of serious dance narrative and cabaret theatre/ rock opera (for which the show was originally created in 1993). Inspired by the hypnotic interpretation of the tale as depicted in the classic Jean Cocteau film La Belle et la Bête, Graeme Murphy once again collaborated with Kristian Fredrikson, paying homage to Cocteau but providing his own twist. The character of the Beast has several dimensions. Beauty is held captive by the Gothic Beast at his castle yet travels seemingly through different dimensions within the mansion to encounter the terrifying Rock Beast and the robotic Corporate Beast. These were inspired inventions and effectively deepened the narrative. The music is an interesting mix of Carl Vine compositions and popular Top 20 songs by the band Southern Sons, making it accessable for differing audiences.
Lost in a storm and pursued by phantoms, Beauty’s father finds himself in a midnight garden. There he spies a white rose, which he plucks as a gift for his daughter. To his horror, Beauty’s father is confronted by an enraged man/beast. The Beast agrees to spare his life if he offers his child as a sacrifice.
The loving Beauty persuades her stricken father to bring her to the Beast’s mansion that she enters through a magic mirror. She is attended by the Beast’s magic spirits, but recoils in terror when the Beast appears. He swears her no harm, but warns against venturing through certain enchanted mirrors.
Driven by nightmares, Beauty enters one of the forbidden mirrors leading into a realm inhabited by the Beast’s futuristic persona. She finds herself in the domain of the mechanistic Corporate Beast, a world where greed is the dehumanising spell. Horrified, Beauty flees back through the Mirror, but the Beast’s wrath at her disobedience sends her tumbling through another mirror into the drugged madness of the Rock Beast’s concert. Finally, Beauty escapes to the safety of the past and the Beast’s mansion.
Beauty and the Beast‘s relationship begins to grow into a companionable friendship, but when she sees a vision of her father lamenting into illness, she begs the Beast to allow her to return to him for a short visit. Upon her promise to return he permits her to leave.
But Beauty forgets her promise and the Beast and his future selves fall sick unto death or begin to self-destruct. The spirit of the Rose seeks to support the Beast. Through the magic mirror Beauty sees the Beast’s distress and returns in haste. Already the Rock and Corporate personae are beyond her embrace, but she finds the Beast himself and, as she kisses him with true grief and love, the Beast’s outer self is transformed into the inner man. As the woman kisses the true man, the ghosts of his tortured past and threatened future farewell her in love.
Dancers (1993 Premiere Season)
Kathryn Dunn as Beauty
Tristan Borrer as the Gothic Beast
Janet Vernon as the Rose
Carl Plaisted as the Corporate Beast
Martin Lewis as the Rock Beast
Bill Pengelly as Beauty’s Father
with Wakako Asano
Gabriel Daniel as The Prince
The role of Beauty in subsequent seasons
Anna de Cardi (Princess Theatre, Melbourne, 1993)
Linda Ridgway (Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 1997)
The role of the Beast in subsequent seasons
Brett Morgan (Princess Theatre Melbourne, 1993; Sydney Opera House 1994, 1997)
Alfred Taahi, Drama Theatre Sydney Opera House 1994
Xue-Jun Wang, The Rock Beast, Drama Theatre, 1994, 1997
The role of The Rose in subsequent seasons
Georgia Shepherd, Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House 1994
Catherine Goss, Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House 1997
The role of the Prince
Josef Brown 1997
Choreography and Concept
Graeme Murphy AO
Janet Vernon AM
Set and Costume Design
Philip Murphy, CODA Audio
Carl Vine AO
Elegy, Love Song, Synphony No 3,
Phil Buckle and Jack Jones
Can't Wait Any Longer
Nothing But Truth, You Were There
performed by SOUTHERN SONS
Vocalist - JACK JONES
Just One Fix
Producer/ Director/ Editor