Pantomime was originally the ancient Roman dramatic performance featuring a dancer and a chorus. Today it can be any dramatic or dancing performance in which a story is told only by expressions of the body and face of the actor/dancer. No words are used in this type of performance, so writing a script for a pantomime performance can be challenging. Here are the things to consider when writing a Pantomime script.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Decide on the story. Good pantomime has a comic flavour combined with the fantasy genre, so your story should soar above everyday life. One direction to take is to base your story on a traditional fairy tale. The mythical content appeals to all ages and the basic plot is already established and familiar to the audience.
Define the characters. When choosing your characters, consider the following:
There is always a dame. Dames are popular with the audience and are sure to win a large applause and laughter with every entrance. It is advisory to go for the classic 'bloke in a dress'.
There is always also a villain in any good pantomime. A well-played villain is essential and central to the script, and should elicit a reaction from the audience. The villain is generally considered the star of the show.
The principal boy is loved by the audience for being really good and moral. His character is a very basic, straightforward character and shouldn't present much of challenge when writing your script.
The princess/heroine of the pantomime goes hand in hand with the principal boy. Portray her as a fun, innocent and slightly thick central character.
Stick to a clear structure. Divide the story and performance into two halves possessing two crises. The first half should end with resolution of first crisis and perhaps early signs of second crisis. The second half should be shorter and more dramatic than the first. The second to last scene is usually a community song, while the final scene traditionally contains a large event that has all actors present for the finale.
Tips and warnings
- Here is a basic script outline. It is important to keep in mind that every scene throughout the play revolves around the plot.
- 1: Start plot, introduce main characters.
- 2: Establish comical characters, Dame and others.
- 3: Include a song while keeping the plot moving.
- 4: Pre-crisis.
- 5: Crisis resolved.
- 6: Happy song and comedy with perhaps the second crisis on the horizon
- 7. Cheerful song and a lot of comedy. End with start of second crisis.
- 8. Second crisis brewing.
- 9: Leading up to second crisis.
- 10: Climax. Resolution of second crisis.
- 11: Community song. Actors give bows and receive applause.
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