Thursday, February 02, 2012

Oh no I didn't!

It’s time to raise the curtain.
It’s time to light to lights..

It’s time to put on make-up
It’s time to dress up right…

The Doha Players’ annual pantomime is over for another year, and the Goat now gets his life back.

The English pantomime, for anyone not familiar with this particular art form, is a comedy musical stage play. The plot is usually based on a well-known traditional story, usually a fairy tale, but the plot invariably heads off on tangents that don’t appear in the Brothers Grimm version. Peppered with local and topical references, the script is also loaded with corny jokes and slapstick. A very important aspect is that the Leading Lady, a matriarchal ‘Dame’ figure, must be played by a bloke. And everyone understands that ‘she’ is a bloke, except for the other characters. A ‘Principal Boy’, on the other hand, is played by a hot babe in tights. Unlike most stage shows, audience participation is actively encouraged. Children of all ages should warn that “He’s behind you!” while the hero is being stalked by a villain. Cheer the good guys; boo the bad.

On reflection, the Goat’s life seems to be irregularly punctuated by pantomime. He arrived in Doha in 1996 and quite by accident ran into a member of the Doha Players in about October. Having found out about the theatre in general and the forthcoming panto in particular, off the Goat trotted, landing a principal role. Other plays followed, including musicals, comedies and dramas and, of course, a traditional pantomime at the end of the year.

Then in 2002, the Goat found himself seconded to Dubai. Here he ran into the Dubai Drama Group and landed a part in a panto. He also met his future beloved Wife. She removed clothing on stage to Patricia The Stripper while he appeared in a selection of foul frocks and garish wigs and make-up.

“Oh no he didn’t!”

“Oh yes he did!”

Several years later and back in Doha, the Goat re-acquainted himself with the Players and it was déjà-vu all over again. Getting a part and wearing ghastly clothes, that is; not meeting one’s wife. Although she did fly over for the weekend to see her husband, meet the Doha Players, see the show, and even to help out.

With any show, the number of people on stage is minimal compared with the legions of back-stage volunteers. Pantomime typically has a huge cast plus a chorus, so the director relies on wranglers to get people on and off the stage. It really is teamwork, and this is why amateur dramatics appears at the bottom of the Goat’s curriculum vitae. There’s no other evidence of being a team player in the absence of membership of a foopball club.

Thanks must go to the other actors and singers, director, producer, musical director, band, lights and sound, set building, scenery shifting, costume, make-up, stage management and props. Someone kindly cleaned up after the slapstick scene every performance, so muchas gracias there. Also rehearsal and interval refreshments, ticket sales, programme, front-of-house, rehearsal space, performance space, and of course the fee-paying punters who came to the show and made it all worthwhile. Thank you; thank you all.



Gnomad said...

your Oscar is in the post....

Mme Cyn said...

and a good time was had by all!


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