Cecile Beavin spent part of her Seymour childhood allowing her imagination to leap beyond the towering turrets of a neighbor’s home.
Such architecture made the abode a good choice to become a makeshift castle for made-up games of “King and Queen and Old Witch.” And such carefree days of the 1950s planted fertile seeds of creativity sprouting beautifully in her life these days.
And, apparently, that creativity is badly needed at a super-serious time.
“I see so many people today who have forgotten how to play,” Beavin said.
Many of them are stressed and depressed clients at her Columbus counseling practice.
Fueled by her childhood games, Beavin has turned her passion to community theater. She believes that such a passion can inspire people’s sense of play and lead to better emotional health. Area residents can see her imagination and inspiration take center stage Sunday in the free, family-oriented presentation of her fanciful musical, “Behind the Pixy Curtain,” at Edinburgh’s Pixy Theatre.
She wrote the production as part of her homespun Fairy Tale Theatre program that she launched in 2000, simply to entertain others. She designed and made all the costumes, built the sets and borrowed and altered tunes ranging from folk to opera to bring the story to life. The tale focuses on how a fictional King Elmendorf, anxious over his queen’s demands for a new robe, has lost a sense of relaxation and play.
Beavin generally handpicks cast members for her presentations, which rely heavily on equal measures of silliness and sentiment. Some are her neighbors in Brown County. Or friends. Or fellow worshipers at church.
How does she make it all come together?
“Miss Cecile is a genius,” said cast member Tina Rousch, who plays a carefree gypsy in the musical. She heard about the production at her church in Bean Blossom.
Clearly, Beavin knows how to make various pieces fit and on a shoestring budget. Decades ago, when she served as a Benedictine nun, she produced a version of “Mary Poppins” in a women’s prison with convicted murderers and drug dealers.
Early in her time in the convent, when recreation for the nuns-to-be was limited to a simple room, she created makeshift paper costumes for pretend productions for her peers. Today, she creates professional-looking outfits that stretch from the regal duds of the king to the crazily colorful and comical oufit for Garry Taylor’s Lord Featherfax character. Part of the costume has sprouted an emu neck and head that Featherfax is meant to be riding. Taylor works as an automotive teacher at Columbus East High School.
“If my students were to see me in this, I might be the laughingstock of the whole school,” Taylor said.
He was kidding. Yet, amid the play’s humor, a serious message lies just behind the curtain. Fourteen-year-old Vera Wagler, playing a playful pixie, laid it out simply.
“It’s that you really never should take anything for granted,” Wagler said.
And also that you never really should lose a sense of play that most embrace wholeheartedly in their younger years. Beavin mentioned that her grandfather, even at age 90, remained actively involved with his grandchildren.
“He always would make time to play with us,” Beavin said. “And he was such a storyteller.”
And now, so, too, is his granddaughter. But with a mission far beyond the stage.
Brian Blair is a Republic reporter. He can be reached at 379-5672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Fairy Tale Theatre’s original, whimsical musical, “Behind the Pixy Curtain”
WHEN: 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Pixy Theatre, 111 S. Walnut St., Edinburgh
ADMISSION: Donations of any amount to help with operational costs and to refurbish the 250-seat venue.
INFORMATION: Cecile Beavin, 988-6854