Waterworks Players proudly presents the pantomime Treasure Island to celebrate the holiday season. Beloved by children and adults alike, pantomimes are as much a part of Christmas throughout the British Isles as singing carols, trimming the tree, and exchanging presents.
As a popular form of theatre, “Pantomimes are melodramatic presentations of familiar nursery rhymes or children’s tales that combine song, dance, and slapstick comedy,” states Mary Jo Stockton, who grew up in Scotland and directs this production. “At home they are called pantomimes, but it’s not the same as a mime,” says Stockton. “You get the story with a twist. Every family goes to pantomimes.”
“Part of the magic of pantomime,” says Stockton, “is the audience participation.” Everyone is encouraged to “Boo” the villain and sing along with cast members. This can lead to friendly audience competition as half of the audience tries to sing their chorus louder than the other. In some productions the story villain will squirt the audience with water guns, while other cast members might throw candy to children.
Seven years ago, Waterworks presented its first pantomime, Puss In Boots. “We weren’t sure how the community would react,” said Waterwoks Players’ artistic director Dudley Sauve. “Although the panto tradition is strong in the British Isles, we didn’t know if an American audience would catch the humor or know how to get involved in the show.” This concern was short lived as within minutes from the opening the kids quickly connected with the actors as if they had grown up with it. Likewise, adults had a wonderful time laughing at the double-meaning of the punch lines.
So successful was that first run that Waterworks Players has made the pantomime an annual tradition. “In the middle of summer I now have people asking me on the street what this year’s panto will be,” chuckles Sauve. “Everyone looks forward to the show, including the actors,” quickly adds Stockton.
This year’s cast includes Jordan Whiley as Joanna Silver the pantomime dame, Greg Tsigaridas as the villain Long John Silver, Ross Baldwin as Jim Hawkins, Leigh Lunsford as Wal Mart, Marianne Congleton as Kate Oh, Matt Beachy as Captain Smollet, Katherine Lusk as Molly, Christy Moore as Betty, Taylor Southall as Susie, Anita Lynn as Bertha, Katie Lynn as Sally, Sarah Wells as Sheila, Sean Stockton and Ava Gee as the spooky skeleton and haunting ghost, and Audrey Gee as the parrot “Captain Flint.” Marcus Pendergrass joins the cast as the pianist.
Pull out your treasure map to locate Waterworks Players. There you will find doubloons or booty. Make reservations now for the whole family to attend Waterworks Players’ production of Treasure Island. Performances are Friday (December 6th) at 7 pm, Saturday (December 7th) at 2 pm and 5 pm, and Sunday (December 8th) at 2 pm. Tickets are $5 for everyone. You can obtain tickets by calling the box office at 434-392-3452 or visiting the Waterworks web site: https://waterworksplayers.org.