Every year since 2009 our little village of Penkhull in the City of Stoke-on-Trent has held a pantomime in the village hall. This year we couldn’t do it, but we’ve tried to keep the fun going by taking part in an online version….. See what you think!
More a mask? Made of papier mache for last years penkhull mystery play in July 2019.
My hubby played the master Potter. At the start he was like a shop dummy, wearing a painted mask. Then as two children go back in time to experience life in the 1840’s for poor children, the Potter discards his mask and turns into a real person. We couldn’t do a real potters wheel so I painted a papier mache pot to look like wet clay.
Hubby made a perfect potter. He really enjoyed the play. We were really sad that it didn’t happen this year.
In February I was painting scenery and props for our local pantomime, Aladdin.
We were acting in front of about 140 people for four performances. One on Thursday and Friday, and a double performance including a matinee on Saturday. To think just a couple of weeks later we were in lockdown. I saw hundreds of people over those few days, and then no one for three months except on the way to and back from the shops.
I wish I could go back in time? Go back to a time where there was laughter. Fun, silly jokes, time to be with friends. Life was much less worrying then, despite global warming and pollution! I wonder what will happen when things return to normal if they do?
More rehearsals today for the panto, we ran through the whole thing today, adult and children’s cast acting together. We also got to use the stage which was good. It gives you an idea of where you will be. What side of the stage to come on. Whether you will knock into another cast member as you dance across the stage.
Just hang on, yes I did say “dance”. We have had a choreographer involved this year. People are being carried on shoulders and doing knee spins and…. We’ll it’s exhausting to look at. I’m glad I’m right at the back, I’m not nimble on my feet anymore.
When you enjoy doing mad things it’s easy to have a laugh. My hubby and I were involved as extras in a zombie / comedy / romance / musical film last year and we went to the Wrap party a couple of weeks ago. This was how I went. In one of my masks for sleep aponea and lots of make up using Face paints (hint, don’t use red face paint as eye liner, it made me look really ill the following day and was hard to clean off). I had to wear my glasses to see! I stuck the pipe into my handbag and pretended to breathe through it.
I’m hoping the film called “Humanus” gets released. The actors in it, who have learning difficulties and physical disabilities, were brilliant. They deserve to succeed.
This is me in panto costume and makeup. I have not published photos of other cast members as I don’t have their permission. What a brilliant time! Two full shows today. That’s 8 hours in the hall. Trying to look serious , happy, perplexed, confused. Changing from being a villager to a Scottish villager, supporting Robin Hood in a wrestling match, capturing Robin Hood in Scotland. Visiting the court of Prince John and the Sheriff of Penkhull and being in the presence of King Richard. Squabbling with other villagers and getting into fights. All while watching the action as Robin tries to rescue Maid Marian when she is actually quite capable of rescuing herself. Add a mad sketch which shall not be revealed at the start of the second act, and large and small Loch Ness monsters chasing the cast round the hall.
So much more goes into putting on a show than the people acting. There is the stage crew who make and place props as they are required, including a mocked up wrestling ring. There is sound and lighting. There are the amazing people creating the costumes. The make up artists trying to paint the faces of almost 40 members of the cast. The people selling tea and drinks Mostly though it’s down to a local woman who wrote and directed our version of Robin Hood. How she kept all the adult and junior cast going and persuaded us to put it on is beyond me.
So after 4 performances including 2 yesterday, that finished about 4 hours ago … Well all I can say is I’m glad I was in it and congratulations everyone. We’ve had really great feedback from audience members. I want to do it all again!
After 3 or more months of rehearsal it’s the first night of the panto at penkhull . Robin Hood is going to run round in a flap with his merry men. Prince John, the sheriff of penkhull and the goons are taxing and harassing people. The villagers are assisting Robin in his attempts to be macho.
I’m nervous. I need to hide!
I hope not to break a real leg! See you on the other side…
I’ve just finished these two boards for the panto They may be the last ones I do. If they are sold afterwards the proceeds will go to the Penkhull village hall although it’s not clear whether they will be kept or not. Its been hard work but great fun painting these.
Gretna Green is a Scottish village where people used to elope to get married if they did not have the permission of their parents.
The second picture is an impression of Big Ben and the houses of Parliament situated in London on the River Thames.
The idea is that the images should be clearly visible even at the back of the hall.
Help! The pantomime is getting closer “oh no its not!” it’s on in a month “oh yes it is!” and we are supposed to be word perfect and know the songs and dances… “oh no we don’t!”
Well last Fridays rehearsal was cancelled due to snow and this week a couple of the main cast were away or had injured themselves so some parts had to be read in. There are lots of things to remember for the whole cast. Like when to come back on stage for a crucial part of a song which we all missed! I don’t know how long 16 bars is! It’s a case if standing around muttering rhubarb rhubarb (to pretend we are talking) while the main characters act out the story.
It is funny (honest) but it’s hard to describe. It’s good that one of the cast has actually written and I’d directing it. She’s so clever to do it. Plus organising over 20 children. I don’t know where she gets the energy.
I won’t tell you all the story, but Robin falls for Marion, some Goons cause mayhem on behalf of the Sheriff of Penkhull who is cleverer than Prince John. Marion is Scottish and the panto has her travelling to her home land. However all ends well. …
We have just started Panto rehearsals again, people in the UK will know what that means, but some of my friends havent heard if it.
Pantomime has been a regular theatrical entertainment for many years. Sometimes it gets quite commercial and is sponsored by local shops or businesses but ours isnt. Which is good as It doesn’t affect the story.
Subjects include things like Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, or in our case we are doing Robin Hood. So, then there is a lot of comedy, children telling jokes, people dressed as monsters or wolves or ghosts and chasing the cast about. There are pratfalls and custard pies, bad villains and silly goons.
Generally someone gets captured or kidnapped and has to be rescued, either on a magic carpet or using a magic lamp or some other magical trick. That’s what happens in the Second Act. We have to learn lots of songs, usually slightly rewritten to fit the story.
There are the usual things, “it’s behind you” when something or someone is creeping up on our hero /heroine. Or the “oh yes it is” “oh no it isnt” bit where the audience knows something and one of the principal cast is trying to tell them they are wrong.
We have a brilliant wardrobe mistress who kits us out in costumes. The picture above is one of the cast dressed as a pot bank. Our costumes are hard work for her, she and a small team make costumes for 30 to 40 adults and children.
There is also work making the sets and painting the scenery. It takes months to organise. Our show is usually on in January but that means rehearsing over Christmas week. So it has been decided to put it back till February 2019.
Maybe I will put some photos of it on here next year !