BATS has been preparing for the next pantomime, but you may be left wondering about this pantomime stuff.
First, let’s clear up what the panto (short for pantomime) is not.
When we talk about British pantos, we are not talking about mimes. Pantos are not quiet affairs.
In fact, pantos are full of comedy, music, boisterous activity, shouting, and…..
….audience participation! The audience is expected to participate in the shouting and the singing. Of course, the audience is not invited to heckle the cast. There are actual times to shout things. Good examples are when the bad guy, usually a wicked witch or a character along those lines, appears on stage, the audience will boo or hiss. Sometimes a character will be looking for another character who is hiding and the audience will yell things like “Behind you!” Singing is always a joy and we try to let you know the words of the song and an invitation will be given to join in.
Pantos are good for adults and children alike. There is a lot of humor on different levels both slap-stick and dialogue-based. While BATS performs in English, people who do not speak or understand a great deal of English would still enjoy the panto.
There are a few staple characters in pantos. There is the ‘Dame’ who is played by a man and lends quite a lot of comic relief. The leading male role is played by a woman. There is some personification of good and evil, usually in the form of a fairy and demon, respectively. An important character to the plot is an animal. Characters may have funny names. For example, Cinderella’s father, who is short of money, may be called ‘Baron Hardup’ or ‘Baron Stonybroke’. Modern pantomimes are in prose but any dialogue involving the ‘fairy’ or ‘demon’ is usually in rhyme.
If you are intrigued you have two options – either come and join BATS and be part of the show or come along in January and be part of the audience!