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MONSTERS AND CANDY
16 December 2017
Sound familiar to anyone? It's the first line of "Beowulf," the oldest surviving long poem of Old English literature, consisting of over 3,000 lines. We read it in school, probably 9th grade, and to this day I remember that opening line--but absolutely NOTHING else. I didn't even remember what the poem was about, so when I agreed to review a Panto version, I had to do research.
Panto (sort for pantomime...though this is not silent) is a type of musical comedy stage production designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is still performed throughout the United Kingdom, generally during the Christmas and New Year season. It is a very physical production that uses dance, tumbling, and buffoonery. There is always a man dressed as a woman, there is a lot of candy thrown out to the audience, and balls given to the audience to toss at the performers.
I started doing research on Beowulf, but what I found was so convoluted that i decided to see if there was a movie on Amazon. There was. All I can say is Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins must really have needed money when they agreed to do this film! Hrothgar (Hopkins) and his kingdom are being attacked by first gremlins and then a dragon, Grendel. Beowulf the HERO comes to the rescue and when he starts fighting Grendel, Grendel's Mom (Jolie) gets pissed and joins the fight. Somehow it didn't seem to be the stuff of panto. especially when I saw all those gremlins.
To my credit (I think), I did watch the whole movie, but it's 2 hours I'll never get back again. It seemed to be mostly screams and growls and very little dialog. But at least I had a vague idea of what the story was supposed to be. I have to admit there were some pretty impressive special effects, especially when Beowulf, hanging from the dragon Grendel's body by a chain manages to punch a hole in the dragon's chest and reach in to stab the heart. When his knife wasn't long enough, he cut off his other arm, to make his body hang longer and then grabbed the heart in his hand and squeezed it. I'm not used to movies like this!
So I didn't know what to expect when we arrived at the little 100 seat black box theater in West Sacramento. There are 13, or more or less, people in the cast. The narrator is not listed and there were at least two more people on stage than in the program.
The "horse" in the picture doubles as the dragon with a few scales added to the sides and face of the horse. The character on the right is the dragon's mom (in case you couldn't tell)
It was definitely for kids, but cute and not boring. The audience yelled at the cast, they tossed balls, ate peppermint candies and in the end two young kids from the audience came on stage and made faux pigs in a blanket as a contest.
More enjoyable than I expected but I definitely didn't need to waste two hours watching that movie! I think I could have figured things out for myself.
This is how the kitchen looked when Ned left last night, so Walt and i went to Denny's after the show to have dinner, where I managed to totally embarrass myself by spilling a PINT of water and ice on myself. The waitress brought A paper napkin to mop it up, then a very thin non-absorbent cloth while I'm sitting there with water pouring down my sweater and into my lap. It was a cold ride home. Fortunately we had a towel in the trunk of the car.
Fortunately Ned left me a way to get to the coffee pot so I could heat up yesterday's coffee this morning--getting to grind coffee beans was a bit more complicated, so we just went with re-heated.)
But the ceiling is now painted and this morning he is going to install the ceiling light. Fiat Lux!!!
I showed this picture to my mother when I went to visit yesterday afternoon and she told me that it looked "cute." I am not sure she even knew what I was showing her.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Hard to do on stage!
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This is entry #6477