Writer Lisel Forst has attended nearly every pantomime fundraiser show at the Capitol Theatre since she arrived in Nelson 16 years ago. She knows the conventions and the potential pitfalls, and she’s passionate about upholding tradition. She’s packed plenty into this year’s version, but somehow she neglected to write a part for herself.
Instead, she made it a priority that every single one of the 55 cast members have a line.
“This is the first pantomime I’ve ever written, and it also happens to be the first time I’ve written something I’m not going to be in,” said Forst.
“I’ve been to pantomimes and, no offence, but I’ve been there when they’ve made a community member a tree. So that person just ends up standing onstage in one spot the whole time. I was like ‘everybody down to the spider, down to the tiny 4-year-old pig has a line. Everybody gets their moment.’ They all have something to do, and I find that brings ownership. Grandpa and Grandpa can say ‘hey, there’s their moment’.”
The cast will include a number of familiar fairy tale figures.
“We meet all the usual colourful characters,” said Forst’s husband Jeff, who is directing the show. “Humpty Dumpty, Mother Hubbard, Wee Willie Wikie, Simple Simon, Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary, George Peorgie, Jack Horner, Bo Peep, Miss Muffet, Twinkle the star and many more, including a wild party of animals and kids.”
Jeff said he’s been loving the rehearsal process.
“It’s been a delight to bring Lisel’s lovely script to life. With past panto star Eli Geddis and Darren Fuss playing the dame and the villain, Chicago standouts Ty Wright and Marleah Staten as the lovebirds and local legends Anna Bundschuh and Brian Munroe as our queen and king, along with an awesome ensemble musically directed by Sydney Black and choreographed by Mackenzie Hope, we’re in a for a highly entertaining Christmas pantomime.”
Lisel said she can’t imagine a better cast.
“To actually see these incredibly talented people bring these characters to life, it’s so much better than the voices in my head,” she said.
Jeff said the show will feel both traditional and contemporary.
“Lisel’s script really brings out the best elements of the pantomime tradition, giving it a timeless, modern feel which will be both fresh and familiar for its audiences,” he said.
He called it a “heartfelt, silly tale set in a world of nursery rhymes come to life”.
The show will include a set painted by Nelson artist Carol Reynolds, which features Kootenay landmarks and a castle for the queen of hearts.
Showtimes are December 4, 5, and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and matinees on December 6, 7 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, or $45 for a family of four. Buy tickets at capitoltheatre.bc.ca or phone 250-352-6363.