Thursday, October 27, 2011

imaginative play and some wondering, to boot

[I buy gifts and cards and never actually give these things to their intended recipients. That's actually something I vowed to work on in my 101 in 1001. (Oh, yeah, I also write lists like that, and then eventually just set them aside. Oy.) Basically, I'm a planner, and I even occasionally start to realize* my plans, but, I'm really better about the planning than the follow-through. Another case?

A while back, I went on a writing spree. I had all these things I wanted to share in this space, but I wrote them elsewhere and have just let myself become overwhelmed by various bits of life. So, I have all of this writing waiting for me to do something with it. I'm finally getting around to sharing here. The following is something I wrote probably in early September. See, I'm working on improving myself; and, I figure that starting with the small stuff is at least starting.

* I can use 'realize' that way, right? As in 'make real.' I'm saying yes, because I just did it. And, yes, I'm off to look it up now. Yep, the use is legitimate. Also, another definition I didn't know is, according to my computer's handy built-in dictionary, "make (money or a profit) from a transaction)."]

A month or so ago, Pic asked me to play 'ladies' with her and I decided we could use the ladies to play out the Beauty and the Beast story (or, rather, a mishmash of Beauty and the Beast stories). I was tired of only ever playing restaurant and library with the dolls.

So, over the weeks, the story has evolved into a merchant father with three daughters (two kind and one obnoxious). The father has to go out to sell merchandise, because that's what he does, you see. He goets lost and ends up at a mysteriously open, yet empty palace. He goes in and calls out repeatedly but no one answers. The merchant enjoys dinner, a dry night's sleep and then breakfast before he takes a book from the castle's library and a rose from the castle's garden and gets caught by the beast ('Um, excuse me, I'm a beast,' Pic narrates) who wants two daughters in return for the merchant's life. The father returns home, retrieves his two daughters who go to the palace. One marries the beast. ('I would like to marry you,' Pic voices for the beast as soon as he meets the youngest daughter.) The father and the other two daughters live with them, too. Not too long after, the youngest daughter has a child who is not at all furry because her mom is 'not a beast-woman.'

Pic is often upset when I try to change the story up a bit -- although she doesn't seem to mind when she alters it. She was going by the story I was telling her and by what she remembered from the Disney movie. Finally, we watched the Disney movie (it's been on pretty constantly for the past several days) and read a version of the story. I keep trying to show her how there are different versions of the story and how we can really make up whatever we want, and yet, I continue to hear, 'Mamma! That's not how it is in the movie!' (Um, what's that again child who insists there are three daughters, only one of whom is greedy and mean?)

Today we broke out one of our many, many story collections and read a version of the story in which the merchant had been rich but has lost his ships and cargo at sea. After a year of living meagerly, he sets off to retrieve cargo from one of his ships that has suddenly come ashore, only to find out that his goods have been promptly stolen. The prince/beast in this story has been turned into a beast by an evil fairy. That same fairy has made his parents invisible. They reappear when Beauty falls in love with Beast. Oh, and there's a silver ring as instant transportation device in this story.

This time, I read through the story as Pic and I acted it out with her dolls. We ran through the show twice, adding our own flair along the way.

Now, we're (once again) watching the Disney movie. (Okay, so it's on while I compose and while Pic skates around the living room.)

Some observations on this movie:

* Why does Mrs Potts have such a young child? How old was she when she stopped having kids? Or, does she just look older because of the caricatured older-woman features: matronly build and grey hair.

* Why does 'Beast' not get a real name? Because, seriously, if his parents named him Beast, what did they expect out of him in life?

* What happened to Beast's parents?

* What's up with the timeline? At the beginning, Beast is turned into a beast when he refuses shelter to an elderly-seeming woman. He has until his twenty-first birthday to get someone to fall in love with him. It's been a decade when we get to the story. So, Beast was ten when he refused to let the woman in? And, then, she set him the task of getting someone to fall in love with age ten?

* Were there not teapots and candlesticks and clocks and feather dusters and armoires and stoves and all the rest before the enchantment? Because all those animate objects are presumably people (we see them back in their human selves and we see a lot of other people in the castle at the end), so is there a whole set of inanimate household objects stuffed in a cupboard somewhere?

* How does the bookstore owner stay in business? The one transaction we see is him giving Belle a book and everyone else seems to think reading is strange.

* There's a part in the opening song when a woman with an armload of babies apparently says, 'I need six eggs,' and a guy sings, 'That's too expensive.' For the very longest time (like until yesterday), I thought she was saying, 'I made success' in her frantic voice and he was telling her that her procreational success was too expensive.

* I love Angela Lansbury.

That is all.

Actually, I could probably ask a million more questions, and I do have more, but I'll stop here...for now.


kate said...

I love your list of questions. I have wondered a few of those myself. Especially the timeline thing. Wish I had answers.

kate said...

OH, and I heard the opening song of Beauty and the Beast today and I'm thinking the bookstore is a library maybe? She's returning one and borrowing another which he lets her keep (probably because no one else ever come in).

Kat said...

The only I version that I knew (before Disney) was the version where the father was rich and lost all his ships and then has the one come in...(hence the saying "when my ship comes in"). The girls ask for gold and perfume but the nice girl asks for a rose. When the ship does not come in he cannot bring the girls their stuff, but he thinks he can still get the rose and tries to steal it from the Beast's castle. The Beast punishes the father by making him bring his daughter to the castle. I don't think her name was Belle though.

I remember being so upset that it was the humble request that got the father in so much trouble.

Oh, and I have a friend who finds the mean guy in the Disney movie to be attractive. I tell her that he is a cartoon and she says she knows that, but she can't help it she thinks he is hot. Weird.

v said...

The version you describe, Kat, is I think the exact version we have in the collection we were reading. The character's name is Beauty. (Oh, except that weird part about the invisible parents our book includes.) I get upset because the father agrees to trade his daughter for his life. I start wondering if I would do that with Pic. (Y'know, should I ever be pinching roses from a beast's garden.)