Writing Pantomime: A Magical THANG

Some of you may know what Pantomime is. It’s not the silent version, where an actor pretends to be stuck in a chimney, or a very small lift. Pantomime bla bla bla is a comic British tradition bal bla bla that has it roots in Commedia dell’Arte bla bla bla and has been a big money maker for theatres in the UK for decades. In fact, most small theatres make their revenue over the Christmas period with Pantomime. This allows them to survive for the next eleven months: the Pareto principle applied to theatrics. However, let’s not talk about the impact of the pandemic on local theatre here…

Well, because I am a kind of bastard off-shoot of the British theatrical tradition, I also do pantomime. But I don’t do it in a proper theatre, I do it at a university just outside of Paris. I can’t follow the traditions ad litteram, because I have new students every year. And my endeavours to put on a performance have been threatened by social unrest, major logistical changes, and even a global pandemic.

But I have come out of it bruised, but smiling and ready, able and willing to go forth with our fifth spectacle. For this year, I am looking for two things: first, to introduce elements from the last for plays and second to reconnect with a more classic pantomime plot, namely a love story thwarted eventually overs evil. It seems logical then to set the play in a context of elections, considering that France will see who the next president will be in May, 2022.

The gist then is this: in our fairytale kingdom (name suggestions most welcome in comments), the Prince has decided to throw elections, because he lost at a game of tiddlywinks. But there is a clause in the constitution stating that “a single voter” will cast the winning ballot. Everyone, however, in this dull kindgom is either married or engaged. Except for our young hero. However, his family is trapped by money issues and, though his goal too is to fall in love, he is tricked into a deal to stay single forever. Only with the help of Peter Pan, the Three Little Pigs and a great big Fairy Godmother will our hero lead the coalition agains the Prince and become victorious in the elections!

Now I have the plot. I just have to write the bloody thing now. 

3 thoughts on “Writing Pantomime: A Magical THANG

    1. Good luck with it! The kind I am doing drifts a little away from what might be called traditional, but I still have all the elements. What I mean by politics is the occasional, light-hearted reference to goings-on in the world. Absolutely nothing too serious!

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      1. I suppose there’s an element of reference to the real world, but not too much. I tend to do that in my Topical Quiz slot on my weekly radio show. But I totally respect someone who can do all that (light) political stuff in pantomime. Is there somewhere I can read it, and learn?

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