Saturday, October 29, 2011

Catherine the Casting Director

 By The Missionary Sister

While many people may think of me as the actress in the family, the flair for the dramatic didn’t actually start with me. It began with Catherine.

Actually, I have her to thank for my being an actress and not a director. Why? Because, in my sensitive budding artistic career, any inclination of mine toward directing was promptly crushed. As the oldest child and the driving force in all decisions great and small in her little sister’s life, Catherine was the self-appointed director, producer, script writer, and costume and prop designer in every one of our award-winning two-person productions. And directing was never in my job description.

One of her favorite shows to put on in our living room was Beauty and the Beast. We were obsessed with the movie to the point where we both dressed up as Belle for Halloween one year, matching costumes and all. I don’t know what we were going to do if we came upon our beloved Beast. Fight to the death, I guess.

Aside from directing and producing, Catherine was also the local casting director. Therefore, whenever she would produce Beauty and the Beast in our living room, she was, of course, Belle. Convenient. Dad was—you guessed it—the Beast. This was a choice of necessity, as he was the only male she knew. Except for the dog. But he wasn’t very cooperative. And do you know whom I was cast as, every single time?

Mrs. Potts.

That’s one to go on the résumé.

However, as the years went on, Catherine became far more democratic in the putting on her theatrical productions, and I was admitted as a full-fledged member of the Rivard Actors’ Union. In high school, our flair for the dramatic broadened beyond Disney stories to those of our own making, and I would like to introduce you to one of them here.

May I now reveal to you the epic story, "An Adventure in the Mysterious Wood: A Fairy Tale."

Director:                              Catherine Rivard (some things never change)
Screenwriter:                      Catherine Rivard
Screenwriter’s Assistant:    Hannah Rivard
The Princess:                       Hannah Rivard
Guardian of the Wood:        Catherine Rivard
Production Company:          Rivard Enterprise
Artistic Director:                  Sarcasm

An Adventure in the Mysterious Wood: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. She lived on the edge of a magical forest. Of course, that shouldn’t be too surprising, since this is a fairy tale, after all.
One day she decided to go for a walk. That also shouldn’t be surprising. We need some sort of problem to befall her. That’s just what happens to princesses who go for walks in magical forests.
Unknown to her, this magical forest was home to a variety of unique creatures, including the mysterious Guardian of the Wood.

Like most magical guardians, this one was a bit perturbed at the entrance of a princess into her homeland just for the sake of a Facebook story.

Deciding to take her job seriously, she chose to help the narrators of said story by creating a trial for the princess.

She began by setting the mood with music. Yes, that’s right. All epic stories have fantastic soundtracks. This one is no different. Only she uses a penny whistle, and it’s in sepia for effect.

The princess wandered deep into the wood, following hidden trails until she was lost, ultimately finding her way into a sheltered glen. Its beauty caught her breath, and she stopped in amazement.

Her first thought, like most fair princesses, was to gather armloads of flowers. This is a common pastime for princesses wandering in magical forests. It tends to have dire results, but they don’t seem to learn.

Eventually, she became wearied of her fearsome task, and reclined among the flowers for a brief respite.

Unknown to her, the Guardian of the Wood was watching her imposition on the Guardian’s carefully tended garden, waiting, watching.

Oh, no, what’s that?! The princess whirled in fear at the sound of snapping branch.

It’s a huge vicious wolf! The princess sprang for some branches, hoping they might shield her from the terror of the forest.

This is the wolf which so frightened our fair princess. That is pretty self evident.

The Guardian of the Wood watched as the wolf stalked the helpless maid. This would be the prime opportunity for the handsome prince to ride in on his white charger and save his soon-to-be-true-love, however, since the narrators were unable to find a prince, the princess is on her own.

This could have been the prince. On second thought, maybe it’s okay he didn’t come after all.

Fear clouded the princess’ mind, trapping her until her only thought was to sing. After all, dangerous predators always turn into tame forest friends for all the princesses in the movies.

To her amazement, at the sound of her pure, lovely voice, the wolf reared back on his haunches and cocked his head, listening. Score for the princess.

After a moment he turned and trotted back to his mistress, and sat at her side. She listened to the princess’ song. “Why have you come?” Her voice sounded of the forest. Big surprise, seeing as she was its guardian.

The princess slowly emerged from her hiding place, puzzled at the voice (it didn’t take much to confuse her).

“Please,” the princess asked shyly, “I’m lost and don’t know my way back home” (directional aptitude is also not a common princess trait). “Could you please point me back to my castle?”

The Guardian gazed long at the girl, her fierce eyes piercing through the girl. Had she discovered the secret of the glen? (What this secret is, the narrators aren’t sure, but it sounded good.)

“I will take you.” The forest shimmered around them and suddenly the princess found herself standing on the edge of the Wood, her turrets of her castle visible behind the next hill.

“The forest is a dangerous place. Do not expect it to be so friendly next time.” The Guardian peered at the princess, hoping to impress upon her the danger. Princesses weren’t known for their intelligence. “Beware.”

The princess sighed, looking for an instant towards her castle, then back at the Guardian. She wasn’t there! The princess looked around wildly, and then turned, with a skip and began the walk to her castle. After all, strange things happen in the magical forest; no need to trouble oneself about silly magical matters.

The Guardian watched the princess go, hidden deep in the woods, her hand atop the wolf’s head. “Yes, beware… my sister.”