Summer Stage mom, photographer and historian Cate Paxson writes about the intricacies that make Elliot and the Magic Bed a magical outing for parents and their children.
By Cate R. Paxson
Do you know Elliot and the Magic Bed was written specifically for Summer Stage, by former Summer Stagers, Marcus Stevens and Brian Lowdermilk, both currently acclaimed artists in their crafts? Do you know, Broadway actor, Jeremy Morse portrayed the first Captain Greenbeard and, do you know that, if you come see Elliot and the Magic Bed both you and your kids are going to LOVE it?
I know all this, because I fell in love with this play the very first time I saw it when it premiered 16 years ago, and over those years I have watched it weave its magical spell on countless others. I want to try to convince you to experience this very special story. Many of you have never heard of this play, don’t know anything about it, and therefore might be hesitant to bring your children to see it. I want to change your mind about that.
What is so wonderful about this play is, not only does it delight children, it also touches the hearts of the parents, especially the moms. If you have ever wished for an extra hour in the day, then you will want to discover, where to find the “Golden Clock of Clockastriala” that controls time, but if you decide to go, I probably should warn you about the pirates, and definitely do not let the mermaids magic transform you into one of them, and well, the wizards can be dangerous…
So have I intrigued you just a tiny bit? Let me continue, then. Our story begins in a classroom, where Elliot is again, daydreaming, frustrating his teacher, and alienating his classmates who often taunt him for being “different”. After school he heads home, bringing his newest treasure, a jar of fireflies, that he desperately wants to share. Sadly, everyone in his life, filled with other concerns, really aren’t interested in fireflies. His parents are divorced, and his mom, Rebecca, is struggling to keep everything together. This causes her to slightly lose focus on the most important one in her life, Elliot. On this particular afternoon, a happy-go-lucky babysitter, an impatient father and a frustrated teacher end up together at Elliot’s apartment overwhelming Rebecca with their concerns about Elliot and his daydreams and unrealistic behavior.
It is at this dismal point, where the magic begins. Rebecca shares with Elliot that if she could only have an extra hour in the day, things might be better. Encouragingly he takes her by the hand, tells her not to be afraid, especially when the bed starts to fly, and leads us all, on an extraordinary adventure to find that extra hour. Along the way, Elliot also helps us to discover what the truly important things in life are.
Much like Dorothy in OZ, they will discover some familiar faces in their journey. Will they find the golden clock? Are the mermaids willing to help them? Will they be captured by pirates? Can the wizard control their actions? When a dark and blustery storm comes, and the bed only flies, how will they get home?
The story is wonderful, but add to it, Brian’s and Marcus’ songs which make it very special. My favorite song is “Holding to You”. It probably will be yours too, although “Coral Cove” might send a shiver down your spine, but it is the last song, “It Takes a Child” that will grab your heart. I know it gets to me every time, and I’ve seen this play about 20 times through the years.
Come and discover what happens. Take your family to see Elliot and the Magic Bed. You will laugh, might shed a tear, and possibly hold your kids a little closer. I so love this play, and I want you and your children to experience its magic. I am unabashedly begging you to come see this. I want you and your children to be filled with wonder, just like I was so long ago, and take the time to be enchanted with fireflies.
Take my hand. Don’t be afraid. Let’s go on an adventure to see Elliot and the Magic Bed. You will be very glad that you did.