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!
Shattered. Thought there was another Zoom meeting … But ended up miming to a virtual panto song. We are holding a virtual pantomime in a couple of weeks. Songs and sketches.. (our village hall usually holds a live one in February), so we are doing a ‘locked down in panto land pantomime!!
This was used as a prop in the local village hall pantomime a few years ago. The hat was a large teacup and saucer made out of wire and paper and glue. Once it was made I had the task of painting it with a classic spode pattern of Greek or roman figures. I might have some more photos somewhere, but this gives you an idea of what I was painting. It was held in place on the panto dames head with a big blue ribbon and bow. I miss rehearsals for the yearly panto. It was restored about ten years ago after several years absence. The largest ausiencevwe had was 180, and we do four performances over Thursday, Friday and two on a Saturday. I miss the stage fright and the fun. We used to do the performances in February to coincide with the school half term.
This time of year is custard pie or cream pie time….. Oh yes it is? Oh no it isn’t!
What I mean is that usually it would be time for Pantomimes (pantos) in theatres across the land. Last year we were rehearsing Aladdin in our local village hall. We went on to perform it in February of this year. 180 people in a small room for for performances! Impossible now.
Sadly so many theatres are closed and shuttered. There is great concern that they will never open again. Instead of fun there is tragedy.
In February we were in the local pantomime. It was Aladdin. I also painted the scenery including this cutout of a cast member who had gone through a mangle and had to come out flattened. You would think it was easy. But have you tried painting feet from the back as well as the front? I took photos of the front and back of the person but the feet looked odd? I should have placed them like Charlie Chaplin perhaps? I hope life starts to return to normal and we get to do another panto soon! Oh yes I do! Oh no you don’t!
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?
Now the panto is over I can share the scenery paintings I did. The market scene was painted with the help of John who started it, (he’s one of the stage cew) and he helped me with the sky on the desert scene. The flat figure came back out of the “mangle” after the character playing a policeman crawled through it in search of Aladdin. I also added clothes to the front of the “washing machine”, the man playing a second policeman crawled into it, and after a few seconds a child climbed out, as if shrunken, but with a full sized uniform!
I had a lot of fun doing these, and I may be painting a mural in Wales now I’ve finished doing this.
Everything’s cleared up and tidied away….. Chairs stacked and put away, empty glasses and plastic beakers cleaned and disposed of. All the sweet wrappers and crisp packets that had been left on the floor were cleared up last night. The changing rooms (four garden gazebos) were taken down today, clothes will be washed and the ones that were rented will go back to their owners. At ten thirty last night the people we had hired the mikes off came to collect them, only to be told they would have to wait a quarter of an hour because we were doing an encore!
Comments made include our panto was better than the professional one held in the city centre at Christmas, and that out cast were good. The only complaint we got was that the radio mikes kept dropping out. The panto has been filmed so hopefully I can get a copy.
It was worth all the months of hard work. If you want to see one of the sketches we did look up “if I were not upon the stage” on YouTube. It’s not our version but gives you an idea of what we did.
So instead of taking photos I decided to draw members of the cast. Less issues over copyright when sharing here because no filming or videos are allowed of the actual panto and I don’t like sharing people’s pictures randomly.
I’m slightly dreading doing two performances and remembering my lines. At least it’s finished today so I can have a rest tomorrow. Then I will get back to blogging here, which I have been neglecting this week.