A couple of months ago I posted a piece about my having joined a local drama group (A Measure of Success) in which I talked about the fun of performing Shakespeare in open air venues. I had hoped at the time that in any future productions I might be given a bigger role to get my teeth into. They say be careful what you wish for, and this has never been truer in my case. Traditionally, for Circle67, the said drama group, winter brings about the pantomime production. This year it will be Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and I went along to the first reading to see if there might be a suitable part for me. I am always ready to take on a challenge, but being offered the role of the ‘Dame’ was something I was a little unprepared for.
For those readers unfamiliar with the traditional British pantomime, these are productions of popular children’s stories, Cinderella, Aladdin, Snow White, to name but a few, and as well as the traditional story line will contain jokes, songs and dancing. There is always a hero, defined as the ‘principal boy’, usually played by a girl, and the ‘dame’ played by a man (in this case, me). Confusing, eh? There is always a villain who never wins in the end, and a happy ending for the hero and his girl (sometimes a princess).
Suffice to say, I have never dressed up as a woman before (honestly!), although a comic role, as this is, gives great licence to how it is played. My greatest fear, however, is the fact that I shall have to sing! Over the years my singing voice has not enjoyed the greatest of appreciation by those unfortunate enough to be in its range, although those occasions were usually alcohol induced with my audience in a similar state. The prospect of singing solo – and sober – in front of a paying audience has filled me with dread. Hopefully I shall win over the audience other than with my songs. Rehearsals are now under way. No turning back.
Example of a dame