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Alan Day

Pantomimes

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Listening to Kevin Spacy (I hope that is correct) who has just made the Bobby Darren Life Story film,I was interested to hear that in America you do not have Pantomimes.In the UK we are now entering Panto season where every large town and even small villages put on a Panto.It just so happens that I have ordered my ticket to go with my little Grandaughter in January.I think Pantomimes are important, they introduce young children to the theatre for the first time where they see singing, dancing,acting and poetry.They are taught to join in.

"He`s behind you" "Oh no he isn`t" Oh yes he is".The costumes,the colour,the emotions are all seen by children for the first time and to just see their enjoyment is something else. The grown ups of course also are entertained, the Principle Boy is mostly by tradition played by a women (usually in fishnet stockings) and a lot of the jokes are double entendres.The Ugly Sisters or Dame is usually played by men.It is a great tradition and long may it continue.

Al

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I think Pantomimes are important, they introduce young children to the theatre for the first time where they see singing, dancing,acting and poetry.

Al

As I was surprised by singing and poetry during a pantomime, I searched for a definition and I found one:

pantomime or mime (păn'təmīm) [Gr.,=all in mimic], silent form of the drama in which the story is developed by movement, gesture, facial expression, and stage properties. It is known to have existed among the Chinese, Persians, Hebrews, and Egyptians and has been observed in many other cultures. Pantomime was popular in ancient Rome, where it was often explained by songs or simple action. The traditional characters of pantomime take their origin in the Italian commedia dell'arte of the 16th cent. English pantomime, originated by John Rich, was more pageant than pantomime, and in 1818, when J. R. Planche began his extravaganzas with “speaking openings,” pantomime in England became a dramatic spectacle with songs and speeches. Joseph Grimaldi and Jean Gaspard Deburau were famous pantomime stars of the 19th cent. In silent pictures, Charlie Chaplin made his name as a great pantomime actor. Marcel Marceau has been the leading artist in France.

We (in The Netherlands) do not know your kind of pantomime. We do know however special "children theaterperformances". Our (silent) pantomime has almost disappeared.

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Alan

I totally agree on the importance of panto as a way of educating kids to appreciate the song, dance, music etc. It’s also it’s a great tradition. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life in Australia where unfortunately there is no panto. And of course there’s nothing here in Hong Kong where I am at present. You do miss these sorts of things and often feel culturally deprived when you’re away from it. How about them squeezing a concertina into panto these days?????

ClaireHK

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I was interested to hear that in America you do not have Pantomimes.

As with Henk, to Americans the term -- generally shortened to "mime" -- means a silent performance. What you describe, Alan, sounds to me like an elaboration of a mummers play. In any case, it sounds like good fun. :)

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The nearest example of a Pantomime is Wizard of Oz and I have been to a performance of this show, however the performance rights on this show are so high it is not popular with theatres or amateur dramatic societies The most popular are Cinderella,Dick Whittington,Snow White and Jack and the Beanstalk.

These shows are a lifeline to performers,musicians,theatres and amateur dramatic societies in the Uk they are normally a sell out being a must to take children to.The parents also make out they go reluctantly but in secret they also enjoy the night out.

Al

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No, we don't have anything like pantomime in the US. I've heard so much about it, I really want to see one! Some year I'm going to fulfull my fantasy of Christmas in the UK and see all the things I've heard about- pantomime, village carols, maybe a mummers play in its village of origin, the works.

 

For now I have to be satisfied with the international broadcast of Nine Lessons and Carols, and my own mummers and carols right here!

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I have been in a few amateur pantomimes. Started in crowd and minor speaking part and ended up as part of the traditional comic double act (the two stupid brothers etc.) I also played Dame once. This required me to wear a two foot tall pink beehive wig (I am only 5'2). First night, second scene I went on stage but forgot that I had taken the wig off (it itched like mad). Result - bald Dame! Best laugh of the night.

 

The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd - there's nothing like it (apart from Morris dancing!) :lol:

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The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd - there's nothing like it (apart from Morris dancing!) :lol:

Some of our brothers and sisters from the "dark side" (ie border morris) will already be familiar with the greasepaint, not sure about the crowds though :blink:

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BTW you know the scrolling advert thingy at the top. Well it just listed several UK pantomimes!!!!! Big Brother is watching :ph34r:

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Any volunteers for the back end of the horse?

 

Which reminds me of the time I was the Horsham Dragon with Broadwood Morris men.The children at first would be terrified and hide behind their mum`s back, but slowly would regain their confidence and attack with a couple of playful nudges and then I was in trouble they would then rally a small army and attack me in numbers.It was not a job I remember with affection.I normally limped back to my concertina after a spell in that costume.

 

Al :)

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Well, just for the record, I'll add that I have been to a Marcel Marceaux performance, several years ago at....um, I think it was at the U of Mass in Amherst.

 

It was amazing! Though, as said, though he is a mime, the connotation of a 'panto' performance in Europe seems to be different.

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Some of our brothers and sisters from the "dark side" (ie border morris) will already be familiar with the greasepaint, not sure about the crowds though  :blink:

Indeed...

 

I had some off-white "ivory" coloured stage grease-paint that I used to use (my usual face paint is an approximation of Alice Cooper's - all white with blacked-out eyes etc); that stuff plays havoc with your skin if you leave it on for a whole day's morris. I soon discovered what moisturiser was for! I use water based paint only now... with greasepaint pens for the difficult details... water based stuff is fine for morris-ing outdoors and Monster Raving Loony election campaigns, but no use at all under lights of course.

 

I had never considered that panto might be a local British tradition that doesn't really exist elsewhere - though I do know that because of it the French consider transvestism to be a British pastime!

 

(edited for punctuation)

Edited by stuart estell

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At the end of one of the pantomimes I was in we had the usual 'happy ever after' final scene where King proposes to Dame(man) and, of course, the principal boy(girl) proposes to the leading lady - at which point a small voice from the audience piped up 'You can't do that, girls don't kiss girls!'. It's not just the French that get confused :blink:

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Any volunteers for the back end of the horse?

Actually, that sounds kind of fun. When anyone asked what role you had in the play, you could say "Oh, I just run around acting like a horse's a**"!

 

How many of you remember Mel Brooks' great comedy Silent Movie? There is only one word spoken in the entire film. The lucky actor who delivers the line? Marcel Marceaux!

 

:)

Steven

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On the way back from The George last night I was listening to a programme of parents talking about their experiences of their children appearing in Pantomimes and Nativity plays.One proud mother ringing in amused me, as she proudly said that her daughter had been picked to play "Second Singing Toadstall".

Now there is only one job better than that!!

Al :)

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Any volunteers for the back end of the horse?

 

Which reminds me of the time I was the Horsham Dragon with Broadwood Morris men.The children at first would be terrified and hide behind their mum`s back, but slowly would regain their confidence and attack with a couple of playful nudges and then I was in trouble they would then rally a small army and attack me in numbers.It was not a job I remember with affection.I normally limped back to my concertina after a spell in that costume.

 

Al :)

I have been to a few Broadwood ales, they were pretty much a pantomime by the end of the night! (Ex Victory Man)

 

I particularly remember playing Skittles, using Hammersmith morrismen as skittles an empty firkin as a ball!! :D

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When I was a kid living in England (many years ago), my "Mum" took me, my brother (who still lives in Blackpool) and cousins to "Christmas Pantomime's" (Puss N' Boots comes to mind). We had great fun; does the audience still respond to the drama/comedy and action like a 'Greek Chorus' ?

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"Oh no he didn't"

"Oh yes he did!"

 

"He's behind you!"

 

Ah I miss the atmosphere of the Panto, being in North America

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