Why I like pantomime

I have got a confession: I don’t.

Well I do: I like performing in pantomimes and I’m fortunate to live in a place which has a good amateur dramatic society and (so far) space for me;  mainly camp roles for ‘slightly uncomfortable in his own skin male’ seems to be tailor-made for the slim gifts that I have ( I was going to put ‘!’ there, but I’m coming to accept that statement as a fact).

In particular I like:-

(1) A shared ritual.  It only works where everyone comes to participate. There is a lot of call and response, an understanding of a set form and a readiness to accept that flaws are part of what happens (…I’ve always felt that is also true of a ‘good’ act of worship…). You perform, yet you are part of something and there is a sense that by doing so, you make-at least for a while- people feel better and more connected with each other.

(2) A village audience. When I’ve helped to put on gigs, managers have remarked that the setting of a village where a core of the audience knows each other makes the experience more ‘real’ than a larger setting. I live in a small community and I’m lucky to do that: connecting with that community and being invested in it is something I like.

(3) Learning. I’m not an actor; performing with a good semi-professional actor a few weeks ago was a salutary experience. However, I’m learning about breathing, voice projection, movement and connection with people. I’m not great (coordinated movement and dance is beyond me), but I sense that what I’m learning makes a difference to how I stand up and talk and connect with a room in a church or at work. Preaching is not performance (and where I’ve seen people try to perform I’ve stopped listening. I need more real people and fewer actors) but it does involve technique.

(4) Connection. I’ve used that word a lot in this post.  I’ve often got a role that seems to involve (clears throat, puts on best ‘luvvie’ voice) ‘knocking down the 4th wall’.  This is the role I like in life: it frustrates me when I see people just ‘preaching to the choir’/equate sound presentation skills with being dull/ or members of any group go into a pattern of thinking that the role of any group is just to serve them. I get to say jokes, act stupid, pick on people, magnify double entendres; anything to make people to connect with a performance and each other.

…plus I get to wear stage makeup, have a lot of fun, wear stupid costumes, be someone else and (unlike many other things in life) walk away when it is finished.

All this week I will be rehearsing for pantomime in anticipation of the first performances on Friday.

If you live locally, you could do worse than follow this link…https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/huttonrudbydramaticsociety

 

 

 

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