As that shortlist includes big budget projects like BBC Blast, I don’t think we’ve done badly seeing as it was one crash hot web guy (that’s Matt, not me) and 20 odd (very) Twitterers on a cold December afternoon (which you can relive, of course, here).
In speech mode, we couldn’t have done it so well without the support of the Birmingham Hippodrome — or the hundreds of people that joined in during the play. Sincere thanks for going along with it.
Quite interesting timing as the RSC’s Twitter Shakespeare project launched this week with much fanfare, in some ways it’s a logical step on from Twitpanto and it’ll be interesting to see how it’s sheer scale affects the experience (a slight overreach of scale was one of the problems I felt with this second panto).
I’m not usually one to hold much stock in awards, but I like the mixture of democracy and professional opinion that The Shorty Awards has (public vote sorts out a shortlist for such luminaries as David Pogue and MC Hammer to preside over). They are pitched as the Twitter Oscars — so as what I guess is the best dramatic use of Twitter, I think Twitpanto deserves a vote. It’s (currently) doing quite well in the ‘art’ category.
Vote here, or just click on this bit and tweet for Twitpanto (please?).
Pantomimes have taken a good couple of hundred years to evolve from ballet and variety acts, they’ve at times been four-hour sprawling shows with a lavish ballroom scene. These days they’re more likely to be a string of doubles-entendre hung loosely over a plot that gives a TV personality a chance to expand his or her range beyond looking fetching in swimwear.
In their heyday they were so engrained into the British culture that it would have been hard to imagine any media outlet that didn’t shoehorn its presenters into an in-joke laden panto – to the delight of the audience and also the schedulers that could fill up hours of festive programming. That they’d also turned into a fiesta of cross-dressing, was just a bonus.
They may not be as culturally relevant now, but the traditions are well-established and they are even starting to see signs of a post-modernist revival.
Panto is an ideal format for a community project, as it has well established traditions – and just a few basic plots. If a show is Robin Hood, Puss in Boots or Alladin the audience know that the basic plot will be boy meets girl, boy gets girl, while thwarting “baddie”. Maybe it’ll be the girl that does the thwarting, or maybe (Beauty and the Beast) the baddie will be our own prejudice that looks are more important than personality. Whatever, there’ll be slapstick, there’ll be a slushy dance scene and something will be quite obviously behind someone else – while they are seemingly doomed never to catch a glimpse of it.