The RSC Production of Beauty and the Beast.

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Vicki Harris 10Z

The RSC Production of Beauty and the Beast.

When watching the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” I noticed several aspects of the production that I found particularly impressive.

One such aspect was the use of lighting and shadows on stage. Spotlights and floodlights were the main types of lighting used. In many of the scenes that did not take place in the Beast’s house, a relatively bright yellowy-orange light filled the stage showing there was nothing particularly important or magical about these scenes/ As soon as the audience’s attention was required to be focused on a particular character, lights would fade out and a spotlight placed on the character.

One such example of this was when Mama dies and Beauty sang a solo part. In the Beast’s house, lighting was taking to a much darker level, reflecting the magical and mysterious characteristics of the house. Once particular use of lighting in the house was very effective, the use of different coloured lights when Beauty and the Beast were eating supper. When the bowls were placed on the floor, trapped doors beneath them were opened so that floor lights could flood through the translucent bowls, giving the effect of different magical foods. One bowl lit up red, to which Beauty responded with “Oh! Strawberries!” then, as Beauty put the lid back down, the colour of the lighting changed to blue and then to green.

At the same time, the stage was slowly filling with dry ice, which had lights from different places shining into it. This dry ice gave the magical side that the scene needed, and the colouring in it added even more mystery and magic. Another effective use of lighting was the mirror ball in the room/hall of mirrors. This reflected onto the audience and made them feel more involved in the scene.

The music used in the production added a depth of atmosphere, causing slight unrest when in the Beast’s home, and a sad, emotional ambience at the death of Beauty’s mother. In the Beast’s house, a man on the balcony sang notes rather that words, backed by eastern, slightly oriental instruments. These instruments had the ability to make a strange, but somehow welcoming atmosphere feel apparent in the Beast’s house – something that was important in understanding both the setting and the character of the Beast.

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The music that played during the dance in which the mother played the horse was sharp and almost violent, mirroring the movements of the horse. At one point, the chorus used large wooden sticks to bang off the floor as a way of backing up the music and adding a stronger beat, possibly shadowing the horse’s hooves as it ran.

When Beauty’s mother died, she sat on the floor and sang a classic French song that was repeated at certain points in the play. Another time repetition was used was when a woman on the balcony repeatedly sang the ...

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