The Panto Tradition
Pantomime is a very British tradition, in so many ways, ranging from the style of humour to the set castings. This tradition surely comes into the style of acting, and the way an actor would interact with the script?
Well it doesn’t. As far as I can see, it’s more about the natural way the British tell stories. If it’s not audacious a thing to say, the magic of panto comes from the community it is in, and as much of a celebration of that …in a farcical way.
I find it interesting that I’d never learned anything about it at Drama school, but maybe that’s for the better. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of playing the jokes, and expect the audience to know nothing about what’s going on, but with a brilliant script it’s all there for you. The skill of knowing when to not do something becomes equal to knowing when to do it. I quickly found that too much effort kills the atmosphere, the essence of this festive theatre.
Everybody knows the fairy tale stories, the villain, the playful idiot, but what’s new every year is the chemistry you can create. The cast becomes an on stage family after spending time rehearsing.
I was told something on the first day, and it struck me as this is my first big show in a professional theatre. ‘This maybe the first time a child steps foot in a theatre, and it often is. Respect them by giving them the best introduction’. Respecting that, and not making any less of a spectacle, exhilarating, or even skilled, makes me so proud to be part of.
Tech begins tomorrow, and with the glitter in my hair, dressing rooms set up, I just cannot wait to practice the scene with…oh you’ll find out.