Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Recreating Memories and Creating New Ones

When I was little, I lived in England.  I remember my parents once took me to see a Pantomime of Mother Goose. That has stuck in my mind as a wonderful event.  I was probably just six at the time, but I remember that the leading lady was really a man, the characters wore wonderful costumes, and that at some point the characters came off the stage into the audience.  It was quite the experience, and one that I have been wanting to reproduce for my grandchildren.

Pantomimes have become more popular at this time of year around our area, and I thought I was going to get my chance last year.  I have two grandsons.  Their parents were convinced that the younger one would never sit still for the performance, so we thought we'd take the older one and the little one some other year when he might be more manageable.  We made the mistake of telling the older one what a pantomime was, and he declared that just silly and he didn't want to go.  Luckily, I had not purchased the tickets yet.

These two boys are celebrating their birthdays this week. One is turning 10 and the other is turning six. I decided we were going to take them both to the Pantomime for their birthday this year and I just wouldn't mention where we were going, to either the kids or their parents.  All they knew was that they were spending the day with Nana and Grandpa.  Even their folks seemed happy with that as they had other things to do, just like the rest of us at this time of year.

The day came and we ended up with the boys earlier than originally planned on, so we moved our planned meal with them after the show to lunch time instead. We went to Smiths Falls for the Harvey's Family Meal Deal, where they happily got to choose exactly what they wanted on their burgers.  During lunch I was repeatedly questioned about where we were going. Eventually they managed to pry the fact that we would be staying in Smiths Falls and that where we were going was over near the railway tracks. Of course they immediately thought we were going geocaching and could not imagine what we would be doing when I said we weren't.

We took them to The Station Theatre. The sign instantly had them thinking we were going to a movie, and it took a bit of convincing that other things happened in theatres other than movies. Of course, that's exactly what I wanted them to experience, and what better introduction to live theatre than a pantomime.

Jack and the Beanstalk was presented in a way that only lightly touched on the original story, but the additions of a King and Princess, an Eco Fairy, a cowhand named Simon and the giant's henchman, Slimeball certainly added to the fun. The giant was gigantic, and the cow was adorable. There was a chorus of cockroaches too.....just because.  Jenny Jasiak played the part of Jack, while Mike Adams took on the role of Dame Trot (Jack's mother) with great vigour. For me, it was high school student, Slade Stoodley as Slimeball that really stood out. This young man is extremely talented, and will go far if he pursues an acting career.

My youngest grandson had no trouble sitting through the performance. Though he never did boo the bad guys he laughed a lot and loved the antics of Daisy the cow.  Just as in my memories, the characters did leave the stage, and at one point Dame Trot actually sat on my older grandson's lap.  I'm sure he'll remember that as he ages!

When asked later if they would want to see another play like this, they both gave me a quick Yes!  It might just become a family tradition.  I'm already looking forward to next year, when the Smiths Falls Station Theatre will be presenting Puss in Boots.

I'm grateful to my long time cyber buddy, Tim Bisaillon (in a cockroach selfie pictured here with the king) for helping me get some photos to include with this post. The other photos were taken during a technical rehearsal by theatre volunteer Simon Lunn


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