Beautiful Things


Beautiful Things was all of this to a cast of teens.
These teens were all of this at the end of this incredible adventure.

Eighteen young adults brought Elizabeth Namen's original play, Beautiful Things, to life at Epoch Arts in East Hampton, CT.  In February 2016, the seed was planted during the first read-through of the play. Laughter, tears, awwwws, and words of disgust filled the room as the cast got a first glimpse at the story they would cultivate, the characters they would become. This would not be easy for many of the cast, as evocative as some of the roles were. 

A missed opportunity hardly gets a second chance.

Lines were memorized, backstories created. The cast not only learned what to say and where to be when they said it, but what compelled their characters to say and do the things they did. They learned to fully bring their characters to life...characters that live on in our imaginations.

It started with an elephant and a traveling circus - with love and kindness and mercy - with one little seed. 

One tiny seed can be worth more than an entire garden. 

It ended with truth, healing, community, and one tiny plant ... with putting one's self aside to seek something real... with redemption. 

Love will make you do crazy things.

The "movers and shakers" are creatures in the garden, most with amazing masks thanks to the talents of Sam, who played one of the wolves. 

Cashlin and Vanti are cringeworthy yet entertaining portraits of big business, always serving their own interests while claiming to be serving yours.

We can all see a little of follower and people-pleaser Ash in  ourselves. 

Bevin provides wonderful comic relief while reflecting the anxiety and mistrust that all too often informs our actions. 

Darby reminds us of a friend we've all had...or been... at some point in our lives. She thinks the world of herself, and expects others to do so as well, while nursing her own insecurities

Madeline, the shaking girl, reflects the (little g) gods in our lives that we all too often let consume us, and the ease at which we seek out quick fixes or whatever makes us feel good, at least for the moment. 

Ringleader and magician Marcello, Harriet the clown, Florenzo, and Rain make up the Kingdom Circus, a band of travelers who see beauty in the destruction and quickly get to the root of the situation. 

They have no trouble taking a big bite out of life and encouraging others to do the same. They trust that we all have a unique something within us that we can use to help make the world a better place.

They encourage us to have a sense
of humor about life; invite the Spirit to motivate and inspire us; and trust God's ability to do beautiful things with one tiny seed ... and with the messes in our lives. 

Wise Demali brings people together for a greater mission - to work together, to accept differences, to uplift and encourage, to do things the right, and usually the hard, way. She's all about building community, good growth.

Goodwin is perhaps most endearing, even if he, in his exuberance, was a bit misguided. He reminds us that, when we make mistakes, the best thing to do is own up to them and help make things right ... that a bag full of manure can often be the beginnings of something beautiful.

Claudia, the elephant, is motivated by the unknown. She has a faith like no other and self-confidence enough to stand up for what is good and true and right. She's all about hard work and determination, building a firm foundation, and spreading faith and love always. 

This cast was truly amazing. Sam (wolf), Liam (bird), Mikayla (wolf), Sara (cat), and Zachary (neon wolf) added life to the garden. Ben (Cashlin) and Bailey (Vanti) clearly had fun being creepy and self-serving - quite opposite of their true personalities. Angela (Ash) really warmed my heart, never losing her disgust with how Ash treated others while powerfully embodying her character. Joey, sweltering in his quilted costume and under his hardhat brought everything he had to Bevin in every rehearsal and in each performance. It was wonderful witnessing Sophia grow into her role as Darby. Emma's beginning struggles with her character led her to her stunning portrayal of heart-wrenching and heartwarming Madeline. Megan's monologues as Marcello grew more powerful with each rehearsal, culminating in true inspiration. Erin, as Harriet, added much needed pizzazz to the play, culminating in a surprising bite to Bevin during the last performance - strange faith, that is! Ronan blossomed into embodying Florenzo and seeing Jace fully embrace Rain's circus freakiness was amazing. Lexi's transformation into Demali was inspiring, her presence on stage powerful. Robin, like his character Goodwin, grew from perhaps a somewhat timid earthworm to owning his earthwormy gifts. Haley's metamorphosis from young inexperienced actor to wise old elephant made my heart runneth over. 

Beautiful things is all about leaving behind what doesn't serve you and risking it all if you have to, even if it isn't the popular thing to do; growing beautiful things from even the darkest of times; and about making things new. 

"Winter is leaving. It's redemption season!"

As if there is no such thing as being made new.


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