Dedicated to the Mahan’s (Ellen, Andrew, and Megan) Thank you for everything you have brought to Rockford Performing Arts Community.

Rockford Metro CYT (Christian Youth Theater) did it again by performing an outstanding production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The talent of these young performers (ages 8 to 18 years) was amazing. The professionalism was top notch ranging from the sets and costumes to the choreographing and directing. Having the opportunity to see the production multiple times allowed me to witness the development of the cast grow over two consecutive weekends. As many of you know, the story of Beauty and the Beast is a story of transformation. The well known story focuses on the beast and his change from an arrogant, judgmental prince to a hideous, bitter, hard-hearted beast. The other story of transformation comes with Belle sacrificing her dreams and willing to be enslaved only to find out that beauty is not in the outer coverings. The beast must break the spell that was a result of his arrogance as a prince in which he turned away an old woman asking for refuge. The only way the spell can be broken is if he can learn to love and someone can learn to love him. And, yes there is a time limit! He must learn to love and be loved as long as the rose has its petals or he and his castle servants will remain under the spell forever. The beast is becoming more angry and hopeless about the idea of any woman ever being able to love a beast. The beast is in a paradox with which his original thinking has ensnared him. He quickly prejudged the old woman for her ugly exterior not knowing underneath her outer trappings was a beautiful princess. Now he doubts very much that any woman could see past his hideous appearance and learn to love a beast. But, along comes our heroine, Belle. Belle is a beautiful but simple girl from a simple town. She lives with her father an inventor (her mother must have died earlier). She is more interested in stories of adventure and romance than the expected things (marriage and homemaking) of a girl her age. Belle believes her life is intended for more than her little town can offer. But, she is a daughter of a poor inventor and may have to settle for romance only in her books. As the story unfolds, Belle finds herself in a dark, scary castle in which her father is a prisoner of the bitter, monstrous beast. Her love for her father propels her to exchange her freedom for her father’s captivity. This was no small decision, along with her freedom her dreams also vanish. During her captivity, Belle grieves her losses (freedom, her dreams, and her father). But as she grieves, she slowly becomes open to her new life. Though, she misses her father, she begins to see life in the castle and see the beast as not being so hideous. They share some tender moments, she reads him stories, teaches him to dance and he saves her from the wolves. And, in classic story form, as Belle confronts the negativity of her circumstances and finds the love and beauty within; and the Beast humbles himself to address his original wounds of pride and anger, they fall in love and the spell is broken, living out their lives as a prince and princess in a beautiful castle. The morale of this story is the transformational power of love and how its power allows us to address our greatest fears and see beyond the obvious.

Will you open your heart to love and allow it to guide you through your fears? 

Kevin Polky, CADC,LCSW