Cinderella - A Pantomine
Arts Theatre, UNE - November 2003
Stage Direction by Neil Horton & Nadia Ozanne
The plot is very simple: The girl dressed as a boy who is the sister of men dressed as women, will win the other girl (surprisingly dressed as a girl), with the assistance of person(s) dressed in an animal skin. In the British theatre, pantomime is a Christmas or New Year entertainment. Like Punch and Judy, Harlequinade and the French tradition of mime, its origins can be traced back to the 16th and 17th century Italian improvised comic drama called the commedia dell'arte. Growing out of the harlequin spectacle of the 18th century and the burlesque of the 19th, pantomime retained such elements as an actress playing the part of principal boy and an actor playing the dame. As pantomimes used well known stories more and more the role of Harlequin diminished until he disappeared. New elements were added to the mix of slapstick and double entendre. Popular songs, topical humour and satire found their way into the script as did audience participation. Some of the comedy routines have become traditional. We've no idea who first performed them but they are eagerly awaited by audiences who know them just as well as do the performers. Nowadays, people will try to tell you that panto is for children. Then they'll attempt to emasculate the script, commenting that the baddies are too frightening, witches are unchristian and the jokes are too naughty. Well, pantomime has never been politically correct. Instead, it brings us face to face with our greed, prejudice, cowardice and dishonesty, and forces us to laugh at ourselves. The audience has to work almost as hard as the performers, whether it be joining in the songs, assisting in conjuring tricks, booing the villain and warning the hero with 'He's behind you!' or cheering them on!
In the end though, virtue is rewarded, true love conquers evil and everyone lives happily ever after. It's terrific.
It has been a great pleasure for us to present Cinderella and we are honoured to be involved in the first production between the two societies. Apart from the St Mary's productions it has been over 10 years since either society has presented a traditional English pantomime. Jean Freer directed the last pantomime, which was "Aladdin". Having read 15 possible pantomimes it was soon evident that the seasoned British team of Crocker and Gilder would be the successful authors. Their version of Cinderella had all the ingredients we were looking for. A traditional story, simple tunes, great slapstick comedy and large variety of characters. The cast of old and new faces has tackled the piece with a great deal of enthusiasm and commitment and are primed and ready to present you with some rollicking family entertainment. Nadia and I would like to thank Stuart Pavel for his fine leadership as Musical Director. Barbara Colledge and Dorothy Pollard for the onerous task of providing numerous props in the true "panto" style. Donna Wainohu, as ever a rock solid producer, and Len ORiley and his team for building our beautiful sets. So sit back and prepare for a show that we are confident will send you home with a huge smile on your faces.
Buttons: Ben Mettam, Prince Charming: Ingrid Rothe, Cinderella: Emily Thomas-Moore, Dandini: Stephen Watt, Miss Muffet: Ruth Strutt, Tutti Von Hardup: Doug Rumble, Frutti Von Hardup: David Young, Baron Von Hardup: Graydon Henning, Fairy God Mother: Frances Tafra, The King: Alan Wilkinson, Rag: Emma Horton, Tag: Dianne Murphy, Bobtail: Marney Tilley, Dobbin: Nadia Ozanne, Tim Wilkins, The Bear: Waine Grafton
Cinderella design courtesy of David Creedy. Cinderella graphics courtesy of Jamie O'Connel.
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