Today I am going to see the pantomime. Now the thing with the pantomime is that it is rammed full of tradition – the story has to be told a certain way, certain characters must be played in a certain way, certain lines must be said every time. The whole point of the Panto is that it must be the same every time – and yet it must also be different enough that no one gets bored. Thousands of Pantos all over the country, for over a hundred years, all following the same format and yet different.
And it’s utterly engrained in the British national psyche. Grown ups swear they won’t join in – but they do. Children who have never been to the Panto before seem to know what’s expected of them and cheerfully call out ‘he’s behind you!’ on cue.
I know people who say they won’t write because it’s all been done before. Or they want to write a story but everyone knows it. It doesn’t matter. If the Panto can take something so well known and yet make it fun and new each year in each town, you can write an old beloved story and yet still make it shiny and new.
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