Pantomime Dame

24 Jan

Dame01 Dame02

Today is the first performance of our village pantomime. This year it is ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. This is a traditional fairy tale, and most pantomimes use these traditional tales as the basis of the plot. The Pantomime as we know it dates from the early nineteenth century, but has roots in the old Italian Comedia del Arte.

One of the features of these productions is the appearance of stock characters. These include a clown, a two dimensional villain, a man dressed as a woman and a girl/woman dressed as a man. The most iconic of these is the pantomime dame, the man dressed as a woman. This is not a case of using a female impersonator. It should be obvious to even the youngest member of the audience that the character portrayed is a man in a dress.

Please do not ask me to hazard a guess as to the significance of the role in British society. No psycho-babble please! It has just become a tradition. So, not minding making a prat of myself I have shaved off my beard and am donning a dress tonight. Last year it was our village shopkeeper, also bearded, who appeared as the dame. As that pantomime was based around a circus he was offered the job of bearded woman by the ringmaster!

Anyway, enjoy the photos!

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