Saturday, December 1, 2012

TITO holiday production is simply 'panto-licious'

The cool thing about panto, which is short for pantomime — a style of theater that is rooted in commedia dell’arte, but dressed up in something approaching British vaudeville, mashing up literary implausibilities, dumb humor, lots of audience participation and, being British, a wee bit of cross-dressing — is how it breaks down the fourth wall, the one that separates make-believe and reality, actor and audience, letting you produce a show and comment on it at the same time — and letting folks on both sides of the looking glass, so to speak, accept both "realities" at the same time. Which can come in handy. Like last summer, when a wedding party inadvertently wandered onto the "set" during Theater in the Open’s production of "Little Red Robin Hood: A Merry Manly Panto," the set, of course, being Maudslay State Park, where the company has been performing for like evah — and, for almost as long, a popular place for folks to tie the knot, for better or worse. But, instead of derailing the show, the wedding party was incorporated into it, for at least one production, and the troupe became a (minor) part of the wedding party, even posing for pictures ...  Or, during the run of the same show, one of the actors broke his wrist during a fight scene. The show had to go on, of course. It always does. This time with Edward Speck, the troupe’s artistic director, putting on the tights for two roles — Robin and the not-quite-so-merry man Will Stutely. Luckily, he knew all the lines. Wrote them, actually.


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