Scene 1: The Powder Room / The Prince’s Dressing Room
Four Princesses from different continents have been invited to present themselves to the Prince, and we see them preparing in the Palace powder room. At the same time the Prince is being dressed for the Ball by the Equerry and the Dancing Master. He is in a sullen mood, unwilling to go through with the evening ahead, completely disinterested in choosing a bride. His attendants attempt to instruct him in the art of love, but he remains unpersuaded and leaves the scene. The Powder room becomes overcrowded as the Stepmother and Stepsisters explode into the boudoir. Eventually the more refined ladies depart, leaving our intrepid trio to “hog” the mirrors.
Scene 2: The Ballroom
We now move into the Ballroom where four Ambassadors greet each of the Princesses. The Father awaits his Wife and Stepdaughters who join the festivities along with the Dancing Master and his “associate” the Equerry who is overseeing the proceedings.
As one dance flows into the next, a sense of anticipation grows - yet, still no sign of the Prince! Eventually the Equerry announces that he is on his way. The Prince arrives all moody and heroic and cuts up the floor with a burst of testosterone around his four companions.
The Equerry and the Dancing Master press him to socialise with the female guests, but he flatly refuses and makes to quit the room for the gardens. A sudden calm settles on the courtiers, and through the large windows of the Ballroom we see a balloon land in the formal garden. The Prince and his guests are transfixed by this unscheduled arrival and, while they watch, the Godmother appears (apparently unseen) and begins to transform the Ballroom; what was an interior looking out onto a frosty winter garden now slowly changes, as the Seasons enter, into a gorgeous summer evening. We’re suddenly outside in the garden looking back at the twinkling lights of the Palace – the perspective has been reversed. The Cogs arrive to complete the elemental entourage breathing new life back into the court. It is eight o’clock and Cinderella descends in her balloon, melting the entire assemblage with the purity of her beauty.
Scene 3: The Summer garden
The Prince is captivated, and as the Ball continues into the night he dances only with Cinderella. At the height of the festivities, the clock begins to strike midnight. Remembering her promise to be home by now, Cinderella tries desperately to escape, but every route is blocked by the busy throng. Finally she finds a way out, but loses a shoe in her haste. The Prince, in hot pursuit, is too late to stop her but stumbles upon the shoe. For now she is lost to him, but he has the means to find her.