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Generated: Mar 15, 2022 11:26 PM
Post last updated: Mar 15, 2022 11:26 PM
no one puts on an improvised play like gaston
the shanghai disasters do Beauty and the Beast
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Wei Wuxian, faced with the horrifying situation of two best friends who have never seen a Disney movie, concluded the only situation was to put on a performance of Beauty and the Beast himself.

It was remarkably easy to convince everyone else of this, because Wen Ning never objects to anything, Lan Wangji does anything Wei Wuxian wants, Jiang Cheng does anything Wei Wuxian wants but with a lot more protesting, and Nie Huaisang takes literally any excuse to wear a dress.

(Imagine if he had to convince Song Lan. Terrible. It's a good thing, Wei Wuxian thinks, that Song Lan is stuck back in Shanghai enclave not being a stick-in-the-mud.)

The preparation for Beauty and the Beast (Shanghai edition) was as follows:

-5% trying to collectively remember the entire plot of Beauty and the Beast.*
-5% translating all the songs into Mandarin so that people who don't know English can follow along.
-10% Nie Huaisang temporarily turning one of his curtains for Marian into a dress.
-20% convincing Lan Xichen this was a good idea.**
-50% Lan Wangji arranging every song in Beauty and the Beast for guqin and dizi, so that it will be perfect for Wei Wuxian.***

*Mrs. Potts wound up cut from this version because while everyone can remember that she existed no one can remember what she did. 
**Wei Wuxian's plan to invite Julia "to encourage good relations between New York and Shanghai," however, was vetoed.
***Lan Wangji successfully convinced Jiang Cheng to practice the dizi for the songs where he's playing the dizi. Wei Wuxian, when asked to practice, said, "oh come on, Lan Zhan, I'll just sightread, it'll be fine."

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While killing mals with Orion in the library:

Lan Wangji is confident that the rules of friendship are that you're supposed to invite people to your theatrical productions. Chu Chu and Jing Yi and Ayako and Tomonori are all invited. Therefore, he should be a good friend and invite Orion. 

"Would you like to come to my performance of Beauty and the Beast tonight?" he asks, reading it off a piece of paper where he wrote down the sounds in IPA.

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"Your... performance of Beauty and the Beast?"

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Oh no unscripted social interaction. Orion, how could you do this to him. Lan Wangji thought they were friends.

"We are performing the songs arranged for guqin and dizi," he says, because this is the closest thing to an answer on his paper.

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"...okay. Where is it?"

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"Shanghai reading room. Lan Xichen was gracious."

(He doesn't know how to say 'xiongzhang' in English.)

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"Okay. When?"

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"Sunday night."

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"But like what time."

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"Eight o'clock."

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"Okay, cool." Orion slaughters some bookworms.

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Another successful friendship action completed.

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Sunday night--

"Do I look okay--?"

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"You look fine."

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"Except that you're wearing a curtain."

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"Shut up."

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"I still think we should have gotten Wen Ning drunk so he could participate."

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"That's because you're an idiot."

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"And invited Julia."

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"Double an idiot."

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"What unites enemies more than the dulcet tones of the Disney Animated Canon?"

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Meanwhile, in the audience--

Lan Xichen is arranging the chairs and wondering how on earth he was persuaded this was a good idea.

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Orion turns up at eight sharp with some Greek flashcards in case they're late starting. Oh no all these people are Asian and they are doing costumes, how is he going to find his hunting buddy under these conditions.

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His hunting buddy is probably the one making no facial expressions at a weird stringed instrument.

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Well MAYBE but he's not SURE. He will sit down in a chair and do Greek flashcards.

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How polite of his friend not to interrupt him while he's trying to tune his guqin. This is why he and Orion are such good friends.

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Masozi is very excited! He's also pretty confused about what exactly is happening here and why, but his best friend Wei Wuxian promised that it would be fun and interesting and so he's looking forward to it! 

...Oh, oh no, the mal-killing kid from New York is here. Masozi will make sure to sit as far away as he possibly can and look very boring and definitely not like he's trying to interact in any way! This is maybe going to be awkward if he spots any mals but he can...ask someone else to pass on a message? Except he can't ask Wen Ning because Wen Ning is monolingual in Mandarin and also scared of talking! 

Wen Ning might be scared that there's a person here he doesn't know? Masozi will beckon him over and offer him the seat next to him, which incidentally means he's a bit more hidden from the New York kid. 

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Okay, so doing things because of the likelihood of amusing chaos is not a brilliant idea, but amusing chaos is its own reward.

The Shanghai freshmen are putting on a show. With very little prep. This is going to incredible. 

... Also Nie Huaisang made puppy dog eyes at him. He is simply obligated to go.

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Wen Ning is happy to sit by his friend!

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"Masozi, do you want to sit next to me?"

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Processing... processing... yes probably this is fine. If a New Yorker wants to visit a Shanghai theatrical performance they should know that Masozi is welcome here.

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Obviously Masozi does! But he also wants to make sure Wen Ning is okay and not scared and he also wants to avoid New York kid's attention! Fortunately the New York kid seems distracted, presumably by looking for mals. 

He nods. "Can I - sit with Wen Ning on the other side though?" 

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"Of course. It's good to see you all getting along so well."

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She's never had a play put on because of her before. Like, it's also being put on because of Masozi, she knows that, but she's never had any casual relationships to a theatrical production before. It's definitely warm fuzzy inducing-- Wei Wuxian likes her enough to go to that effort! To make sure she knows something that isn't even life or death!-- but also kind of embarrassing. All of this is happening because she hasn't watched a Disney movie. The literal spotlights are on other people, but she can sure feel an imaginary one following her around.

She gives a shy wave to Wei Wuxian as he sets up, and then goes to find the most corner-ish seat possible (This is definitely for the practical purpose for putting as many people between her and any greebly things, and has nothing to do with feeling shy and exposed. Definitely.)

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"Your brothers are doing a really good job on the play!" he says to Yanli.

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Yanli smiles. "Thank you!"

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"We haven't done anything yet!" Jiang Cheng says irritably.

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Aaaaaaa.

He flees.

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If he DIES because SOME PEOPLE are putting on THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES instead of BUILDING MANA

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Orion Lake is here. Why is Orion Lake here. She has questions about the entire enterprise honestly but that's the only one not answerable with 'yes, the Shanghai freshmen make absurd choices, this is known, you cannot fight it you can only work with it.' 

...she picks a chair nearish Wen Ning.

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"Showtime!" Wei Wuxian announces in Mandarin. "Normally this is the point where I'd say something like 'no flash photography' but there's no flash photography in the entire Scholomance so you guys have escaped! If you're not fluent in English, make sure you pick up one of the translations of the song lyrics, Wen Ning worked hard on those and built us all a bunch of mana."

"Showtime!" Wei Wuxian announces in English. "I sure hope you're all studying Mandarin or at least would like to be but it's too late now!"

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Orion ignores all the Chinese and is slightly bemused by the suggestion that he should be studying Mandarin. He's pretty sure he didn't hear anything. Though he will have to walk out if they are planning to perform Beauty and the Beast in Chinese.

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Wei Wuxian says, each sentence in English and then in Mandarin except when he goes on a tangent and forgets: "Anciently, there was a prince, and he was a real spoiled brat. Like, he had everything he wanted, but he was just a dick to everyone all the time constantly. And then this old lady was like 'I'm going to give you a rose if you let me stay inside your castle because it's really cold out here.' And the prince was like 'lmao fuck you I have SO many goddamn roses, lady, you think your rose is good? I have a goddamn greenhouse.' And she was like 'don't be deceived by appearances, true beauty is found within.' You guys gotta remember that, it's like, the moral of the goddamn story. True beauty is found within."

Meanwhile, Jiang Cheng (playing the prince) and Lan Wangji (with a rose and a sign that says OLD WOMAN) mime what Wei Wuxian says. 

"Except then! It turned out the old lady was a WITCH! And she cursed him to be a HORRIBLE BEAST."

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Jiang Cheng very dramatically puts on a pair of cat ears.

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"And she also turned all the servants into household objects for some reason? Like, come on lady, it's not the servants' fault. They were just doing what they were told. This witch needs some Marxist class analysis. Anyway, he decides to lock himself into his castle forever and only look at the world through his magic mirror. And it turns out the rose was magic! If he could learn to love another and earn their love in return by the time the last petal fell, the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for al time. You know, if I were him, I would adopt a cat? Cats don't care if you look like a beast as long as you feed them regularly. Or maybe one of the servants, since he has an entire house full of magic-object servants anyway. But, no, this is Disney, so it's going to be romantic love. Sorry about the spoiler, Chu Chu, Zaizai, they're gonna kiss at the end. Where was I. Doomed to remain a beast for all time. And he thought there was no hope, because who could ever learn to love a beast? Other than, obviously, cats."

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"Cats aren't capable of love."

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"Says you."

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"Hello??? Song??? It is time for my dramatic entrance???"

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"Oh right."

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(This is really good language practice! Masozi is not nearly as drawn into the story yet as he was by Lan Xichen's story about the rabbit, but at least he's getting to test his Mandarin comprehension here. 

How does Wen Ning seem to be doing? Does he want an arm around his shoulder?)

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Awwww!! Snuggles. ^_^

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Chu Chu was using her elite sneakery skills to grab a translation sheet off Wen Ning, ideally with no one noticing what was happening, when Wei Wuxian mentioned her by name.

She is going to go hide in a hole now. A hole for non-fluent English speakers who cause theatrical productions.

... She's probably going to pick up some creatively wrong English by the end of this, because Wei Wuxian is not going to be consistent, but at the very least she's probably going to know 'beast' in English?

 

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Before there can be any more bickering Lan Wangji begins to play Belle (adapted for the guqin).

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Nie Huaisang plays Belle in a dress that was very clearly in its former life a hospital curtain. He has a good voice that is, admittedly, much too low for the part, but he makes up for it with the great enthusiasm with which he sings about liking (a) books (b) Prince Charming (c) being somewhere else than the place where you're currently living.

Jiang Cheng and Lan Wangji split the part of the villagers.

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Wei Wuxian is playing Gaston, the best part in the entire musical, and he doesn't so much chew the scenery as pulverize it. He says "in this town there's only she/who's as beautiful as me" with the most sincerity. He kisses his almost-nonexistent biceps. 

Due to casting constraints, the part of Lefou and the girls in love with Gaston are both played by Lan Wangji, who is also playing half the villagers, which probably suggests some funny things about sexual orientations in this village or some correct things about the sexual orientation of Lefou. 

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Nie Huaisang can sing SO enthusiastically about WANTING TO BE SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN HERE and everyone thinking you're USELESS and WEIRD.

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...Chu Chu has a favourite character already. (She would deny finding Belle relatable, except for the fact its so obvious that any denial would be ridiculous.) But... books! Being literally anywhere other than where you were because it kind of sucks! Prince Charmings, maybe, also!

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Petition to cast Nie Huaisang in all... Scholomance... musicals...

 

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Masozi is enjoying this a lot! Even though the song also kind of hurts because it feels too real. He will snuggle up against Lan Xichen with his arm still around Wen Ning. 

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Oh good they're singing in English. Orion has been in a room with this movie before and can hum the choruses of a couple songs.

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He reaches out and pets Masozi's fuzz.

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"Bonjour, Belle!"

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"Bonjour, Gaston."

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That's French! If you're going to do that you should have a more thorough content warning. Fortunately Orion has French already.

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He snatches Nie Huaisang's book out of his hand and holds it upside down. "How can you read this? There are no pictures."

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"Everyone has different talents, I guess."

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"Right! You're good at reading and being beautiful, and I'm good at, well, everything."

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"Can you give me my book back?" 

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"No! Because it's time you pay attention to more important things!"

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"Like you?"

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"Yeah! Every girl in town wants to marry me, you know!" He blows a kiss at Chu Chu. "And getting married would be good for you. It's not right for a woman to read. Next thing she's going to start having thoughts."

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"You are positively primeval."

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"Thanks!"

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"Please let me go inside."

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"You can run away but I still know how you feel about me!"

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"You can't even imagine."

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaa?

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In a monotone, very badly accented in English: "I'm Maurice. I'm Belle's father. I'm inventor. Town thinks I'm crazy."

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"Oh, father," Nie Huaisang says dramatically, "I'm sure you'll win first prize at the fair!"

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"Mn."

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"I'll miss you so much while you're gone."

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"I miss you too. I go to woods now." He walks a bit. "Now wolf attack me. Aaaaaaa."

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He is a very Polite and Civilised person, and is not going to laugh at earnest performances by freshmen.

...Even if they are that.

(Cause of death: was reminded of the 'Aaaaaaaa' and fell over laughing right into a mal.)

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Oh no! Wolves! Is his character going to die - is Belle going to be sad -? Masozi hugs Wen Ning more tightly. 

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Tomonori thinks the romantic drama is boring, but he makes sure to take notes so that he'll have something nice to say about Nie Huaisang's performance. He would much rather the story be about Maurice, the crazy inventor, though.

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"I run away from wolves to castle. Castle lets me in. I need place to stay for the night."

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Wei Wuxian is holding candles in both of his hands. "It is I, Lumiere! You can definitely stay here for the night!"

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"You are candle. Candles can't talk."

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"I was transformed into a candle by a witch with NO Marxist class analysis WHATSOEVER."

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"As inventor, I am curious how you're made."

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"Magic! Come sit by the fire! I'm incredibly bored and have had nothing to do for years. I'm so bored I want to do my actual job, which is ridiculous, because who wants to do work? No one."

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"Mn."

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"This will be fine as long as the master doesn't catch us!"

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Nie Huaisang looks so pretty in that dress.

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"I SAID, this would be FINE as long as the MASTER doesn't CATCH US."

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Oh right!

He roars dramatically.

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"Oh fuck."

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"Who let this stranger into the house? Who dared disobey me?"

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"He was set upon by wolves! You can't just leave him to die out in the cold."

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"I can too! You've betrayed me!" He spins around and glares at Maurice. "Come to stare at the beast, have you? Come to make fun of how hideous and terrifying and fundamentally unlovable he is?"

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"No."

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He whips out Zidian and ties Lan Wangji up with it. "Well, you're going to have plenty of time to think about how ugly I am-- IN THE DUNGEON!"

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Orion is fairly confident that most of this was subtext in the film but he wasn't really paying attention to it beyond nodding along so he would be acceptably checked in to his obligatory playdate.

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Everyone clears off the stage except Wei Wuxian, who throws his candles aside and puts on his Gaston body language.

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"Gaston! What a... pleasant... surprise."

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"I'm full of surprises. For you."

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"A picture of yourself! You shouldn't have. You really, really shouldn't have."

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"You know, every girl in town wants to marry me"-- he blows another kiss at Chu Chu-- "and I've chosen you. Because you're the most beautiful. Today is the day your dreams come true."

Wei Wuxian's opinion of what masculine men look like closely resembles a peacock.

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"What do you know about my dreams, Gaston?"

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"Picture this-- a rustic hunting lodge, my latest kill roasting on the fire. My little wife, massaging my feet." He raises up one of his feet in demonstration. "While the little ones play on the floor with the dogs. We'll have six or seven."

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"Dogs?" Nie Huaisang says hopefully.

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"No, Belle. Strapping boys! Like me!" He kisses his biceps again for good measure.

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"I'm sorry, Gaston! I just don't... deserve you!"

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"And yet I'm graciously accepting you anyway!"

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"So that's a no! But thanks for asking!"

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Huh, the bit about the dogs was as far as Orion can tell exactly right.

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EVERYONE IS SEEING THESE ASIDES

AAAAAAAAA

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Gaston seems to be having fun, but Belle doesn't. Maybe Gaston isn't supposed to be very attractive? Or maybe he smells bad? Maybe he doesn't like books? Tomonori notes this for later, too.

Maurice is still his favorite.

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Nie Huaisang stares out into space and sings his heart out on Belle (Reprise) with all the enthusiasm of a fourteen-year-old who desperately wants to be anywhere other than here, because if he were somewhere where what mattered was his literature analysis skills and not his killing instinct it wouldn't matter if he was alive.

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Wei Ying is sight-reading the dizi part! Sort of. This part is boring. He should spice it up a little.

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All right, well if he's going to do that then Lan Wangji will have to alter that note to this one--

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Oh, now it's on. What does he think of this variation?

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Lan Wangji resolves it and counters with a variation of his own.

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Uh, guys? He's done singing now.

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Sorry, they're too busy improvising. 

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Fine! All right! He will say his next lines with musical accompaniment.

"My father's horse!" he says. "Something's gone wrong! Take me to him, boy!"

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That's probably how horses work. Orion saw a horse once.

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There is too much singing for him to be expected to pay attention to the dialogue. Something about a horse. Tomonori is starting to think that they might not be doing a very good job of performing this play. Unless that's the point. He should really ask Nie Huaisang to explain again about plays.

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"Wow! The horse has taken me off to this spooky mysterious castle! I wonder what's in here."

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He is making music with Wei Ying and he is the happiest person in the world.

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The stick-in-the-mud is fun to play with.

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"Wow. There doesn't seem to be anyone in this castle."

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Hint? What's a hint? He can't hear any hints because those aren't playing the dizi.

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Head empty only Wei Ying.

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"I wonder if there are any MAGIC PEOPLE in this castle, like as a completely hypothetical example a MAGIC TALKING CANDLESTICK."

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Oh! Oh right!

He drops his dizi mid-refrain and scrambles to grab the candlesticks. 

"A girl! There's a girl in the castle! She's here to break the spell!"

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Wei Wuxian is very good at music and less good at picking up cues.

... It's cute.

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Now Huaisang was cast well, seeing as he's carrying the whole show.

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"Is anyone here? I'm looking for my father."

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"I, your father Maurice, am here in this dungeon."

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"Who put you in a dungeon, Father?"

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"Run away."

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Lurk lurk lurk in the background.

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"Who's there?"

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"The master of the castle."

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"It's your fault my father is here. Let him go!"

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"You can't boss me around! I'm in charge here!"

(The attempt at intimidation would probably be more effective if Jiang Cheng weren't a solid eight inches shorter than Nie Huaisang.)

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"Well, you put old men in dungeons where they might die, so I'm pretty comfortable in saying that I'm better at ethics here!"

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"I don't care about ethics! If someone comes here to laugh at me they're going to be in prison forever! He's lucky I didn't kill him."

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"Take me instead."

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"What."

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"You want someone to rot in the dungeon for laughing at you. Take me and let my father go."

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"No."

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"Okay! But you're going to be in the dungeon FOREVER. You can NEVER leave."

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"Yeah, you know, I got that. From all the yelling."

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"Lumiere! Drag the old man out!"

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This amount of ass-groping is really not necessary and is also confusing from a characterization perspective.

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Nie Huaisang throws himself to the ground and dramatically fake-sobs. 

"I'm never going to see him again! And you didn't even give me a chance to say goodbye!"

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"Well, I don't give a shit! You're going to rot in there for the rest of time!"

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Scene change!

It is time for Wei Wuxian to sing Gaston, the best song in the entire movie, according to Wei Wuxian.

Unfortunately, what everyone failed to account for was the fact that nearly all of Gaston is sung by Lefou (a role currently being played by Lan Wangji). So Wei Wuxian has nothing to do except keep himself entertained. 

At first, he does so by showing off his ability to do backflips and one-handed pushups and winking dramatically at Chu Chu. 

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Oh nooooooooo.

(She had no reason to think this would be in a Disney movie! She'd heard they were wholesome!)

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And then Wei Wuxian gets an IDEA.

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To the dulcet tones of Gaston, he begins to strip down to his underwear.

He's quite good at it, really. Comes of having watched a lot of videos of people stripping, as well as natural grace.

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WHY IS THIS HAPPENING

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His ears are bright pink.

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Orion's pretty sure this was not in the film??? He does not think that Chloe's parents would have put it on for their playdate if it were?????

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... Presumably this is very off script? Hopefully?

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Well, this is getting interesting.

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Wei Ying sings "every last inch of me's covered with hair!", looks down at his visibly hairless chest, and shrugs.

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What if he sinks into a hole right now. How about that. 

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You know what is TOTALLY an appropriate part of Gaston? Twerking on the guy who's playing Lefou. Probably. If Disney had thought of this they totally would have included it.  

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Dot. Dot. Dot.

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Oh, wow, Wei Ying is pretty

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Tomonori reminds himself that everyone on stage is acting, and Jiang Cheng and the other boys are not behaving this way because that is how they really are.

He reminds himself of this, but he doesn't really believe it. It seems stupid. Maybe Nie Huaisang is good at acting and the rest are not. That would explain everything and he could go on being afraid of Jiang Cheng, confused by Wei Wuxian, and intimidated by Lan Wangji. He can ask Nie Huaisang after the performance.