Stella Maris displays talents at the Christmas Pantomime

The Little Theatre and The Dramatics Club work together in Star Wars: The Panto Menance

Rochana Mohan, III Year B.A. English.

Any Chennaite will tell you that the highlight of the Christmas season is The Little Theatre’s Christmas Pantomime. This year, as the 22nd production in The Little Theatre’s 25 years of operating, Star Wars: The Panto Menance was held at Egmore Museum Theatre on the 16th to the 21st of December to critical acclaim.

This year saw the Dramatics Club work in very close association with The Little Theatre to put up this production. With The Little Theatre having conducted several workshops with the club, many got an opportunity to not only assist the production, but also act in the Pantomime.

“I was a direction intern asked to assist KK [Krishnakumar],” says Gowri S. “I had to co-ordinate between the various departments in production. I was asked to sit in for practice and make changes to script if anything struck me.” Gowri worked very closely with the cast as well as the crew during the four-month process. This involved her going for practice almost every day for more than four hours to make sure that the production was as much of a success as it was. “It was an eye-opener for me. It was a great experience, no doubt about that. I learnt a lot.”

Vanya Vimal took centre stage as one of the Cursed Fairies. When asked on how it was to be on stage, she said, “It was an adrenaline-filled experience. It was amazing. And the people I worked with, I got to know them so well. We have a ‘hugging policy’ in The Little Theatre – at the end of every practice you have to hug everyone before you go, whether you like it or not. We were all so close, and the reason I could do it was because the cast was there for each other, we supported each other and told each other we could do it.” Her performance was electric and filled with energy, all while maintaining the unique humour characteristic of the Christmas Pantomime.

Damara Jessica, another member from The Dramatics Club, also got the opportunity to work with The Little Theatre in the costume and props departments. She also assisted in stage design, explaining the difficulties to ensure the stage design was durable enough to hold up through all eight shows. When asked about the importance of students taking part in such productions, she had to say, “It’s definitely very important, because we need the exposure and I’d recommend that our juniors learn some of the things we did at this production. It taught me about team work and staying calm during a crisis, because some new problem would happen every show and we would need to know how to handle it within the next ten seconds.”

The Christmas Pantomime follows a blueprint that almost never changes, yet still remains charming and interesting every single year, as proved by its continual success. The Little Theatre proves that come cyclones or high water, the show will always go on and lift the spirits of Chennai to bounce right back through tough times.

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