The Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) was the host for a performance of the Pattaya Players’ annual Christmas Pantomime at their Sunday, November 29 meeting. The Players delighted an audience of adults and children with their pantomime very loosely based on the Jack and Beanstalk fairy tale. The Pattaya Players present their pantomime as a kind of road show appearing on different dates. The performance Sunday was the second of four, each at a different venue. There is no charge to see the show, but Pattaya Players encourage donations with all proceeds going to Pattaya Orphanage. For the PCEC performance, they raised over 10,000 baht which they gave to member Judith Edmonds to be combined with the funds being collected by the PCEC to benefit the Orphanage. Radchada (Toy) Chomjinda from the Pattaya Orphanage and about 20 of the children were on hand to watch the pantomime; the children also performed a dance of their own as part of the entertainment.
Pattaya Players’ Narrator keeps the audience apprised of what is taking place and their young interpreter repeats the comments in Thai.
Pantomime (“panto” for short) originated in England and is still performed there, generally during the Christmas and New Year season. It is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. Modern pantomime includes songs, comedy and dancing. Often men dress as women and women dress as men. Pantomime combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers (or to boo and hiss when prompted, as happened frequently during Sunday’s show).
It is customary in an English pantomime for men to play women’s roles and vice versa. Here two of the Pattaya Players’ “ladies” pose for a photo.
The audience was so into the spirit of the occasion that they booed and hissed Richard Smith, long-time PCEC board member, when he later tried to give an update on the club’s special interest group activities. (They were just kidding.)
Pantomime is not to be confused with miming. Mime is an art form where the performer tells a story or acts out a scene without saying a word. Pantomimes are noisy and boisterous, full of songs and music, with a little slapstick thrown in. The acting is deliberately over the top.
The Pattaya Players’ cast of characters for the Jack in the Beanstalk pantomime along with the narrators pose for a photo after the performance.
The performance of Jack in the Beanstalk featured a cast of characters that included Jack, Jack’s mother and father, Jack’s girlfriend, a housekeeper, a bean seller scoundrel, a very short giant and a cow named Gertrude, played by two actors. It was said of the cow that it couldn’t do a handstand but that it was able to send email. One of the characters mentioned that all the cows she knew were on Facebook.
A Christmas pantomime is primarily for the enjoyment of children and here the children from Pattaya Orphanage are not only enjoying the show but also getting involved with the cast.
The family was desperate for money, so it was either eat Gertrude or sell her. Gertrude declared that she would rather be sold. She was sold for a can of beans – not any old beans, but magic beans, which Jack planted. By morning, there was a giant beanstalk outside his bedroom window, which Jack proceeded to climb. This gave the cast an excuse to sing a rousing rendition of “Climb Every Beanstalk.”
The children from the Pattaya Orphanage put on a dance show of their own as part of the entertainment to the enjoyment of the PCEC audience.
At regular intervals, a narrator explained to the audience what they were about to see, and a young Thai girl translated for the benefit of the Thai children in the audience. After the pantomime was over, the children from the orphanage performed a few dance routines to popular music.
You can see Ren Lexander’s interview with the cast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaEohGPGntw and visit the website of Pattaya Players at http://www.pattayaplayers.org.
For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org