A Christmas highlight in Malta, which is popular for children and adults alike is the annual pantomime held at the Manoel Theatre and a different one held at the MFCC. A happy mix of good slapstick humour for children and satire for adults. Pantomime story lines and scripts usually make no direct reference to Christmas, and are almost always based on traditional children’s stories.
Classic pantomime stories include Cinderella, Aladdin - sometimes combined with Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves or other Arabian Nights tales, Dick Whittington and His Cat, and Jack and the Beanstalk. These four, with the occasional addition of Peter Pan and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, tend to constitute the majority of “big” productions staged by major theatres.
Smaller theatres and amateur companies sometimes perform a wider range of stories, but still within a relatively narrow range—mostly based on the fairy tales of Charles Perrault, Joseph Jacobs, Hans Christian Andersen, and the Grimm Brothers; stories from the Arabian Nights; and well-known modern children’s fantasy stories like The Wizard of Oz.
While the familiarity of the audience with the original story is generally assumed, plot lines are almost always ‘adapted’ for comic or satirical effect, it being common for characters and situations from other stories to be interpolated into the plot. Certain familiar scenes tend to recur, regardless of plot relevance, and highly unlikely resolution of the plot is common whilst straight re-tellings of the original stories are rare.
The Malta Amateur Dramatic Club, or MADC, is Malta’s oldest theatre company having spanned ten generations. This year MADC and a cast of talented actors, singers and dancers are embarking on a journey to meet the wonderful Wizard of Oz- a spectacular pantomime by Alan Montonaro. This Christmas be sure to click your heels and join Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion on an exciting journey down the Yellow Brick Road and onto the spectacular MFCC stage for a night of magic, thigh-slapping laughter and toetapping music. This show will run from the 22nd December to 6th January 2013.
Another great drama school is Masquerade, which will be staging the pantomime this Christmas at Teatru Manoel, Malta’s National Theatre. This year’s choice has fallen on THE CURSE OF SNOW WHITE and shows will run from 26th December to 6th January 2013.