Beauty and the Beast- transformation scene

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March 13, 2011
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I am directing Beauty and the Beast, Jr. and we were planning on using fog machines to do the transformation scene, but were informed that we were not allowed due to fire codes. So, we are back to square one. We were going to go with a blackout and a spotlight on Belle reacting to the Beast- but we need to get the prince on stage. Any suggestions?? The only other idea I found online was to use blinders to shock the audience. While this is a great idea, I am not sure how many we would need, etc.
4 answers

March 25, 2011
We just finished our high school's production and had a very simple transformation--Belle moved downstage in a spot, blackout on the Beast's lair. Our theater has a projector and our medai specialist put together a video of lightning bolts which we simply projected onto the center of our castle set (which was light gray), away from where the Beast's exit was (we used a Beast double, with our Beast/Prince delivering his lines into his body mic from the wings as he changed). We also added in a thunderstorm sound effect in addition to the musical transformation score. The lightning video had a strobe-like effect and I added two additional strobes onto the sides of the castle. It wasn't as amazing or as magical as it might have been, but it was a simple solution worked well and seemed to satisfy our audiences.

March 23, 2011
We just did this show and had the transformation happen full on to the audience, with the actor looking like he was being pulled in different directions by magic. We have a beast mask and wig created for us by a Hollywood Special Effects and prosthetics master. The coolest thing was that the mask moved with the actor's face (as much as possible under that much prosthetics) but came off fast and easily while the actor's back was turned. The adhesive was similar to the strip of sticky gel that holds a credit card to paper when you receive a new card in the mail. Completely gentle on the actor...and extremely fast change. I really like the above idea of the rose petal transformation though! Good luck. Depending on when your show is, the beast mask we had created for us might be available for renting should you wish to do something similar to what we did.

March 22, 2011
One of the most effective choices I've seen for schools, is diverting the audience's attention to the magic rose. If you make something pretty/magical happen with the rose (i.e.-colored lights), you can black out on the Beast and Belle and it won't seem as obvious.

March 14, 2011
I got this idea from the MTI show archives. An elementary school (I think) was doing Beauty and the Beast Jr. and did the transformation scene with large flower petals. The petals were a little taller than the kids and made from black netted material framed with some sort of heavy gauge wire. The petals themselves were lined with glitter and decorated with to accentuate the effect. At the appointed time the petals come out swirling, then surrounding the Beast and wah lah! Add some fancy backlighting and or chases and maybe a rip away costume and you've got your effect. Break a leg! I'm struggling with the same scene this week. We're blocking it in a couple of weeks and I need to have it thought out by then.