Last performed in Maple Ridge in 2012, Sleeping Beauty in pantomime is coming back to town.
SPECC-tacular Productions is set to return to ACT Arts Centre this December with three generations of Lynsey Teasdale’s family bringing the classic fairy tale to life.
“My daughter is performing and so is my mother. I am co-directing and also playing the good fairy. It’s nice to have generations performing on stage,” said Teasdale, who serves as president for SPECC-tacular Productions.
With the founders wanting to “enjoy their maturity”, Teasdale said she wanted to create an atmosphere where younger people would want to join in.
Having directed two shows, she got the “direction bug.” However, curating a panto alone was a big task.
She approached her stage director, Lisa Bouman, to direct alongside her.
Lisa Bouman has been working with the company since its inception in 2009. However, co-directing a play together was destined to happen 13 years later.
“It’s been an amazing journey, we have actually realized how in sync we are, it’s kind of a little crazy. We’ve both done it a few times where we said, I was actually thinking of that myself,” said Bouman.
When we think of a mime, what comes to mind? A person dressed in a black and white costume, trying to escape an imaginary box.
But pantomime is a lot more than that. Laughter, music and colours come together to create the experience.
The ingredients for a traditional pantomime performance are a character of a dame that is over-the-top and a lead male character performed by a female.
“The base story is Sleeping Beauty but you have additional scenes that happen along the way that you don’t see in the Disney Sleeping Beauty,” said Bouman.
It’s a fight between a good and evil fairy, where good always wins.
Sleeping Beauty returns
From a wide collection of Disney fairytales, their decision to reimagine Sleeping Beauty was deeply personal.
They performed the story for the first time in 2012 at the same location.
But the script written by the founders in 2012 is now a 2022 post-pandemic relaunch version.
Music, choreography, costumes – everything has been revamped by these two female directors.
Another reason was familiarity.
“We thought we would do something a little bit more on the traditional side, a story that everybody knows. It’s the same script but not the same show,” Bouman said confidently.
Art and political correctness
According to the online definition, a panto is “theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.”
Except this one is suitable for children and adults.
“So it’s basically a take on a child’s story, done with, I like to call it, Shrek humour,” chimed Bouman.
“But we try and make sure that we keep it as polite, and politically correct as possible. But still enough to kind of ride the line. We don’t want to offend anybody but at the same time, we like to make people laugh,” added Teasdale.
The show opens at the ACT Arts Centre from December 15 to 17, 2022.