So. It’s Panto-time. (It’s a bit like Hammer-time, but with more tinsel)
Live Theatre hold regular Short Cuts events – a chance for writers to showcase new work or short extracts from their scripts. With the festive season upon us, it was a Christmas themed variation for December’s event – SHORT CUTS MINI PANTOMINES. The brief, a ten-minute Panto on a contemporary theme for four actors.
I’ve had work included in a couple of Short Cuts – always extracts from longer scripts – but this one really caught my eye. I’d been harping on about wanting to try to write a Panto for ages, so an abridged one could break me in gently.
In my wisdom I decided my Panto was going to rhyme. Why? It seemed like a good idea at the time. (See, I can’t stop now – I’m a poet and, etc …)
I selected Sleeping Beauty as my fairytale of choice and off I went. Or didn’t. Five lines in and I threw in the towel. It wasn’t lack of effort, it was lack of … well … everything else.
So I (temporarily) abandoned the project. Re-group. The sleepy Princess and that darn spinning wheel were out, Little Red Riding Hood was in. My contemporary theme – identity theft. The Wolf dresses up as Grandmama after all, so what’s to say he doesn’t nab her pin number too and start a new life as (hairy) Ethel. As I wrote it, however, this became secondary to the idea that Red was a fatty, that ‘Little’ was a cruel nickname and that she and the Wolf go on a killing spree after he reveals his slimming secret …
RED: I’ve tried the diets, the books, the plans.
WOLF: No, what helped me was devouring Nan’s.
RED: I can’t do that, be a Granny killer.
WOLF: It fills you right up, no need for dinner.
Think about it, it’ll be lots of fun
RED: Will it make me thin, like Heidi Klum?
Once in the swing of it, it ended up not taking that long and was incredible fun to write. Maybe all my plays will rhyme from now on. Or not.
My potted Panto ended up as one of the seven performed as rehearsed readings at Live on 3 & 4 December. They were great nights, lots of fun and a good turnout for both.
At the end of the evening the audience were asked to vote for their two favourite. It was tense. The votes were counted and verified. And the result … pipped to the post (by ONE point, please note that down) by Paddy Campbell’s Hansel and Gretel. Twice!
Well it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part … oh no it isn’t!