Hello! Shannon the playwright here. I was singing the old Johnny Cash song this morning, or well I guess Johnny Cash song as I’m fairly certain there aren’t any new Johnny Cash songs. “I don’t like it but I guess things happen that way.” Then it segued into Tom Petty, my lifelong guru. “I DON’T LIKE IT!” Shout-singing Tom Petty at nine a.m. in your front yard in a questionable outfit doesn’t even feel daring any more. Truth is… we’re in the upside down.
I’m not here to get political. I have a front porch chat with my cats most mornings. That’s where I really get into it. I suspect Cheddar is a Libertarian, but he’s not saying. I am just here to let you all know that I think you are beautiful and I hope that you’re okay. In the deepest way. We’re all frightened. By a virus. By the dominoes that keep falling because of it. It’s a terrifying, threatening and fearful thing. I won’t minimize the night terrors or the uncertianty or the endless ‘what am I going to do if’s… I’m feeling them too.
But I’m still writing. Naomi’s still dancing. I mean, look at her Facebook. The woman is everywhere. Alone. In rubber gloves. But everywhere. I get up and go on my morning walk, and I’m plotting. I eat my oatmeal with their friendly blueberries, I’m chuckling to myself. I sit under our Covid Pagoda and I… am probably having a drink. And yes, that’s okay. I don’t consciously know that we’re going to be okay, but some times the universe whispers to me, and I have to believe her. She’s telling me that we’re all going to make it better together.
Life brings the pain. Now, it’s unprecedented. I’m so sorry you’re hurting. And I know it won’t be immediate. We’ll have to crawl out of our dens slowly, and acknowledge the things that didn’t work, and take the hits and find a way to smile and come back to the fire. A friend will be waiting with a shoulder and a Moscow Mule, if they’re any kind of friend at all. Things will change, and hopefully our new awareness of how fragile we all are will be the light we take with us to make it better. We are meant to be together. To take care of each other. To laugh, and sing again.
And when the doors to the theater open again, we’ll be waiting for you. Rogues, maidens, princes and one very saucy dame will welcome you back. To stay awhile and let us entertain you. Our community. Our people.
2020 is the year of the audience! We are writing and choreographing and preparing a panto workshop for you, good people of Clallam. As this tradition warms up, we are bringing in more elements of traditional panto to mash up with our sharp American flare for the original. With that in mind, here’s an educational moment. Read it. I mean, it’s not like y’all don’t have time on your hands!
Panto… a Retrospective
Panto began in blah blah blah, Google it. Seriously. There’s a lot of information on this magnificent show style, with traditions dating back to Willie the Shakes(peare). It’s a lot of typing, and WE’RE WORKING HERE! Go and have a looksee. Spread out and do some research. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime
Find us at a performance and impress us with you’re new knowledge of commedia dell’arte.
Don’t actually do that.
Shout outs – who/what/when/where/why/how
Cheering/booing/hissing – In panto, there are ‘goodies’, and ‘baddies’. Cheer the heroes when they do something good. Boo and hiss the baddies when they do bad things. (These reactions were common in Shakespearean theatre and are now an expected part of British pantos.
˜Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is!’ – a routine chant used when an actor says either ‘oh no it isn’t’ or ‘oh yes it is’ and the audience is encouraged to shout the opposite. The chant is normally repeated three times, lead by the actor.
‘It’s right behind you!’ – when an actor is looking for something, or a villain is creeping up on a hero, and the audience can clearly see whatever it is behind them. A crowd favorite, every time.
**Feel free to send us a short video of yourself practicing these shout outs. Say, to a cantaloupe. or your cat. There might be a free T-shirt in it for you… email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You might also be highlighted on this very website! You know, if you’re good with that.
We’ll have other moments of interaction with the audience. Show up ready for anything. We’ll keep surprising you, in the good way!
Hello, panto lovers! Our current panto is rolling along. The writing is going well, especially as Shannon, our resident playwright, has all the time in the world to finish it! It’s an upside, and she’ll take ’em as they show themselves. When not rewriting a Lizzo song for our fabulous Dame, she’s getting her book finished. Like it’s her day job. Because right now, it is.
Naomi is color coding her wine by times of day she’s allowing herself a glass. Noon is a lovely pino gris! She’s furiously choreographing all the things that have been rescheduled for…? Active life will continue after this deep and (hopefully) creative pause.
We wish you all peace and health during this enforced break. We know one thing, in the British style:
Loo roll will not save you. Relying on your network will. Staying calm in the face of uncertainty will. Learning how to churn whipping cream out of dried lentils will not, but it will make you impressive. Make something. Bake something. Go for long walks in the fresh air. Hang on and stay with us. We’ll meet on the other side.
For now, we’ll continue to prepare our next production: Goldilocks and the Ultimate Rampage, for you. And we’ll encourage you to audition for it. Or come out and enjoy it. We’re making it for you.
Our love letter to our home. See you all when it’s safe.