Skoolaz with the Pantomime Company

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

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DECEMBER 26 marked the 70th staging of a Boxing Day tradition — the National Pantomime — and this year the attention of thousands will turn to Skoolaz.

Once again penned by Barbara Gloudon, the reboot of the 1989 and 1995 pantomimes of the same name (different spelling), the production merges her years of experience, to current events, and to how TEENagers react to their reality.

The intention is to entertain an entire family and for the next five months the Little Theatre will host the 2012/13 production.

TEENage got a backstage glance at all the preparation for the show:

Gloudon revealed that one of her challenges in developing the storyline was in modernising the production that incorporate the slangs and experiences of this generation while maintaining a family-friendly show. Another was the time the company had for rehearsals.

"The cast has to undergo a tedious preparation process, as each rehearsal begins with a detailed warm-up of the body and spirit. They have to be in the state of mind to welcome their respective characters," Gloudon said.

The various teams involved in preparation for the opening of Skoolaz have their challenges carved out for them.

The beautiful and very artistic set that captures the visual senses of the audience takes as much time to be ready as the cast. It requires time for the cast to rehearse with the various sets, which are operated by the backstage crew, that contribute largely to the coordinated movements of the sets and cast.

According to architecture and set designer for about 17 years, Michael Lorde, he meets with the costume designer in the initial stage to discuss colour schemes before developing a set which "complements the costume and movements".

The Actor Boy awardee recently found himself doing research based on the theme of the production before putting pencil to paper.

The job of directing is not much easier, as Robert ‘Bobby’ Clarke directs his 11th Pantomime.

Starting as an actor in his first Pantomime in 1983, Clarke is able to view situations from the cast’s perspective and as such, hopes they enjoy every performance and are satisfied with the responses from the audience.

Clarke also wishes that the Pantomime experience will propel the cast into their future goals, highlighting that being in the show highlights a disciplined process.

As for the hard-working and diligent cast, Pantomime is a combination of singing, acting and dancing making it a preference in the theatre world.

While balancing the demands of the Pantomime with their ‘regular’ lives can be very challenging especially during exam time, especially for those cast members who are students.

The cast endured the preparation process of learning the script (which was changed numerous times), dances and songs.

It is enjoyable, however, and that fact made the process less challenging.

The 2012-2013 Pantomime should be a good watch before the new school term starts. So go take a look at Skoolaz.






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