King Arthurs Court The Pantomime

Press Release:

King Arthur’s Court

November 2018: Metro Theatre is thrilled to present King Arthur’s Court our Holiday Musical Pantomime, an annual tradition  for 34 consecutive years. The fun begins December 14, 2018 and continues through to January 5, 2019. Evening performances are at 7:30 pm with Matinees at 2 pm.
Merlin casting a spell on the cast of King Arthurs Court.
King Arthur’s Court is a song and dance version of the famous legend of the gallantry of King Arthur, his love for Guinevere, the wizardry of Merlin and the bravery of the Knights of the Round Table.
Borrowing from parts of “Camelot” and parts of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” this whimsical tale features Arthur as he grows from a boy to a king under the tutelage of Merlin. As the story goes, Arthur meets Guinevere and subsequently forms the Knights of the Round Table.  The Knights (Sir Round, Sir Cumspect to name but two) are a dysfunctional and argumentative group and it falls to Arthur to get them to collaborate.
The dragon in King Arthurs Court is calmed by a singing Knight.
Along the way, there is a fire-breathing dragon with throat problems and of course, the mainstay of any Panto – the Dame –  Mrs. Baker the castle cook  and her Trick Oven. The battle of good versus evil wages throughout the production. On the side of all that is right and good, there is the beloved Good Fairy, a glittering spectacle in white *Yeah* versus the nasty, iconic,  evil Demon, dressed in black *Boo*.  Loud and noisy cheering and jeering are enthusiastically encouraged!
A cast of 28  talented singers, dancers, and actors bring this show to life in spectacular medieval costumes, backed by an awesome set of moving castle turrets with flying forests and dramatic stage lighting.
Panto playwright Catherine Morrison: “King Arthur’s Court is fun, family entertainment and a great introduction to live theatre.”
Tickets from $28. ( New Family Value 4 Pack from $85 ) can be reserved by calling the Box Office 604 266 7191 or Purchase Tickets
Knights and King Arthur drinking coffee.Metro Theatre is collecting donations of COFFEE and TEA for the Legion Round Tables.  Donations will be delivered to the “Knights” of Legion Branch #61. If you are so inclined, please bring your donations to put under our COFFEE tree in the lobby throughout the show run.
 
CAST LIST
ROLE…………………………Performer

ARTHUR…………………………Colton Fyfe
GUINEVERE…………………………Megan Greenwood
MOPSY…………………………Katherine Matlashewski
MRS. BAKER…………………………James T. Walker
GOOD FAIRY…………………………Emma Gold
DEMON…………………………Mark Wolf
MERLIN…………………………Sue Sparlin
SIR  SMARTIE-PANTS…………………………Chris Coulter
SIR ROUND…………………………Mark Sparky McDonald
SIR SINGS-A-LOT…………………………Jon Morris
SIR LAUGHS-A-LOT…………………………Anthony Stonechild
SIR CUMSPECT…………………………Kevin Sloan
SIR LANCELOT…………………………Cameron Thomson
MR. BEAR………………………………………Cameron Thomson
TOWN CRIER…………………………Allyson Riley
LADY ELINOR…………………………Diana Andrews
LADY ALICE…………………………Hannah Holmgren
LADY JANE…………………………Kristi Low
LADY ELIZABETH…………………………Gillian Myers
YOUNG ARTHUR……………Scotia Browner /Katherine Mezei
DRAGON…………………………Yobdee Marazzi
ENSEMBLE…………………………Christine Thomson
ENSEMBLE…………………………Shanti Bains
ENSEMBLE…………………………Lucy Bosma
ENSEMBLE…………………………Wren Hawkey
ENSEMBLE…………………………Ivy Hawkey
ENSEMBLE…………………………Maneli Shafiee
ENSEMBLE…………………………Simone Richard

 

King Arthur and Guinevere Coffee Toast.

PRODUCTION TEAM
POSITION…………………………Name

PRODUCER…………………………Alison Schamberger
PRODUCER/WRITER…………………………Catherine Morrison
DIRECTOR…………………………Chris Adams
MUSICAL DIRECTOR…………………………Katie-Rose Connors
CHOREOGRAPHER………………………….Lyndsey Britten
STAGE MANAGER…………………………Heather Webster
ASM/PROPS…………Allison Kendall /Morgan Reynolds
COSTUMES………………………….Rene Schindel
SET DESIGNER………………………… Les Erskine
LIGHTING DESIGNER………………………… Les Erskine
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR…………………………Jamie Horsley
GENERAL MANAGER…………………………Les Erskine
HEAD CARPENTER…………………………Robin Richardson
CARPENTER…………………………Jamie Horsley
SCENIC PAINTING………………………… Tracy-Lynn Chernaske
SET DECORATION…………………………Tracy-Lynn Chernaske
PHOTOGRAPHY………………………… Tracy-Lynn Chernaske
GRAPHIC DESIGN………………………… Barbara LaBounta
WARDROBE MANAGER…………………………Sean Ullmann

Metro Theatre is a non-profit theatre company, dedicated to promoting and developing theatre arts.  This is our 56th continuous season of bringing laughter, intrigue and surprise to live audiences. King Arthur’s Court is our 513th show.

Meet the Panto Director

Chris Adams

Director Chris casually swings Excalibur.

Chris is thrilled to be back at the Metro for his 7th show here and his 3rd Metro Panto.  He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from The University of Victoria and studied Musical Theatre in New York City with Circle in the Square Theater School. He is a two time Ovation Award Winner and three time Nominee.

“I remember sitting in the audience, as a little kid, booing the demon and cheering the good fairy and then rushing to the stage after the show, just to get autographs from the cast.  From that childhood time Panto has kept a warm place in my heart.  It wasn’t until after theatre school that I was first cast in a Panto, the Metro Panto, of course; and then more recently having played Buttons in Cinderella and The Dame in Sleeping Beauty, it seems only fitting that my next foray into the Panto world would be as the Director.  There is a deep rooted respect of a time honoured tradition that influences all the knowledge and love I have of Pantomimes.

Thank you to the families that bring their kids to the theatre.  Who knows, one day, they might be directing it.  Happy Holidays!”

 

Join Chris and the cast of King Arthur’s Court – the Panto immediately following the show on Friday, December 21, 2018 for an informal chat about
  1. Musical Theatre.  Is a Pantomime considered a Musical?
  2. Why the Metro Panto is a time-honoured tradition.
  3. The sheer number of people, mostly volunteers, that help put on the show.

After which, Chris will open the session up for questions from the audience.

There is no additional charge for the Director’s Talk, just stay in your seats or move up a bit closer to the stage.  The session will last approximately 20 minutes.

What is a Traditional British Pantomime?

The pantomime is a staple of the British stage and originated hundreds of years ago. A pantomime (panto for short) usually adapts a fairy tale, fable, folk tale, or classic nursery rhymes into its yearly, Christmas show. These tales typically up the ante in terms of the fantastical elements of fairy tales. The emphasis is on buffoonery and making things sillier for children. However, many traditional elements of a panto are humour aimed at adults including crazy creatures, good defeating evil, stage fights and gender role reversals. All of these combine to an experience the whole family can enjoy.

Mrs Baker King Arthurs Court Dame and the Jester.Staple characters are the good fairy, the demon and the dame. The fairy usually enters stage right (the left side from the audience point of view) while the demon comes on from stage left (the right side from the audience point of view). One tradition that has changed in the modern pantomime is the role of the lead boy. When panto first began, it was customary for the lead boy to be played by a woman. The attraction in the early days was that audience members would see the legs of the woman in tights as opposed to being hidden under a long dress. This has faded out and the casting of the lead boy and lead girl is no longer essential or observed here at Metro. One popular part that has stuck around across the world is the role of the dame, which is played by a man. The role of the dame is to be the clown, or the fool of the show. The dame is usually a favorite amongst children and adults alike. Many pantos (including Metro’s) have also evolved to include not only songs that have traditionally been apart of the show (Pantomime Tonight & 12 Days of Christmas or another Christmas song) but also modern song and dance, even a fast-paced fight/chase scenes can be included.

One key element of the pantomime is a tradition of political satire, which means that scripts involve topical humour which is historically based upon current events. They take aim at local, and national politics as well as celebrity culture. Many archetypes of older tales are given a modern spin to match the times and political air of the city or country it is being performed in. The songs and dances are usually given an update from being more traditional style to blend in styles that are current.

Here at Metro Theatre we continue to use many of these tropes to this day. Our set employs false prosceniums with bright colours to help us create the fantastical world the play is set in and add to the magic of the staging. We have a deep history of keeping to a traditional British Pantomime but also continue to add modern and local touches as well. In Robin Hood and Marion songs were adapted to fit the backdrop of Sherwood forest, and Cinderella had Vancouver’s recognizable “Vancouver Special” type homes as its backdrop. We use a dame (or two) but gender swapping for the leads has been nixed. The ever-popular demon and fairy make an appearance every year. Call-backs to characters in previous pantos is a yearly shtick, and the audience is encouraged to boo and cheer as they see fit as with all pantomimes regardless of modern or traditional styling. Also a world-wide normality with pantos Metro continues the tradition of inviting children on stage after matinees to have pictures taken with the cast and get autographs free of charge.

Pantomimes continue to be popular in Britain and around the world as there is something for everyone at a pantomime! With the social and political landscape the way it is in the 21st century, the panto continues to be as popular and as relevant as it was in its early days. Metro continues it’s tradition to bring a pantomime to our stage that pleases the lovers of a traditional pantomime and delights those with a taste for the new.

Relaxed Performance

Metro Theatre is delighted to be offering a Relaxed Performance of King Arthur’s Court ~ the Panto on December 22, 2018at 6 pm.

Relaxed performances – sometimes called “sensory friendly performances” or “extra live” performances – are specifically designed to make theatre more welcoming to audience members with a developmental disability, autism spectrum disorder, or a sensory and communication disorder.

The actors are “expecting the unexpected” and lights, sounds and seating would be adjusted for the audience. The theatre has balcony, “behind glass” and extra wheelchair seating. The audience is free to move during the performance.

The very nature of the Panto encourages audience participation for those who like to speak out. The performance is equally fun for the cast, crew, caregivers and family members!

Mopsy and the kids ensemble having a good time on the set of King Arthur's Court.

The performance is essentially the same show with some small adjustments for comfort:

— Sound levels are reduced

— Lighting levels inside the auditorium are increased

— No strobe lighting and some special effects are changed

— Theatre doors are left open so you’re free to come and go

— You can move around during the performance if needed

— A chill out zone in the lobby to relax

Tickets for the Relaxed Performance are now on sale and are priced $18 for children under 12 and $28 for adults.  Family 4 packs are $85.

 

Fast Facts:

KING ARTHUR’S COURT

Guinevere reads the facts on King Arthurs Court.

SHOW TIMES:

Evening Performances are at 7:30 PM on

December 14, 20, 21, 27, 28; January 3, 4

with Matinees at 2:00 PM on

December 15, 16, 22, 23 ,26, 29, 30; January 1, 5  *Guests will be invited up on stage after each matinee perfomrance for a CAST signing –  selfies and autographs.

SHOW RUN:

December 14, 2018 – January 5, 2019

The Preview is on Thursday, December 13 – it is the final dress rehearsal. * Children from the Strathcona Community Centre (DTES) and Kids Up Front have been invited as our guests for this performance.

The Director’s Talk is Friday, December 21

The Relaxed Performance is Saturday, December 22 at 6 pm

LOCATION:

1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC.  Next to the on-ramp to the Arthur Lang Bridge by Marine Drive and Granville .

TICKET PRICING:

Tickets from $28 with a special Family Value 4 Pass rom $85. Preview performance $18.

BOX OFFICE WINDOWS HOURS:

Wed – Sat 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm & 1 Hour before each show.
Box Office Phone: 604 266 7191

LICENSED LOUNGE HOURS:

Show Performance Evenings – 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Show Performance Matinees – 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

PARKING:

There is plenty of easy parking – in the parking lot, on the street, even ‘All Evening Parking’ for $4 at the Liquor Store Lot just up the street from Metro.

BUS ROUTES:

We’re close to the Marpole bus loop and on the #10 route. Check out www.translink.ca for transit directions.

CONTACT:

Metro Theatre for more information, publicity photos, arrangements for interviews and press tickets by using the Contact Metro Form at the bottom of this web page.

The Story

King Arthur’s Court  – a Pantomime written by Catherine Morrison

Young Arthur meets Old Arthur while Merlin looks on.

We begin our tale in Merry Old England during the Middle Ages.The peasants are revolting (and that’s not their just politics!) the country has  longed for a leader but no one is able to pull the sword -‘Excalibur’ from the stone. So there it sits.

The usual Panto characters are here to lead us through the story – the Good Fairy ( who represents goodness and truth ) and the Demon ( who doesn’t ! )

We first meet young Arthur as a lad wandering the countryside who is taken on as a pupil of Merlin, the Wizard . Arthur then gets a job as a kitchen assistant to Mrs. Baker (the Dame ).Mrs. Baker’s cooking is known  throughout the land ( to be avoided at all costs ! ). She is, as the first song suggests “The Worst Cook in Town”. A baking malfunction happens in the kitchen.

The Knights of King Arhturs Court dance with the Ladies in Waiting and the Town Crier.Besides poor food, the rest of the inhabitants of the castle are discontented on other fronts as well ; the castle maidens are frustrated at the lack of proper attention from the Knights ( who are too busy fighting with each other to notice them !) Enter the (very French) Sir Lancelot; a maiden swooning follows.

Time passes and Arthur is now a young man. It’s time to try his hand at the Sword in the Stone.(You know the outcome). He is crowned King and rejoicing begins.

Or does it ? What is a King with no Queen?

The Demon is still working feverishly in the background to undermine Arthur. Merlin is trying to bring Arthur up to speed on all that a King should know. Plus the new King feels like an uneducated dolt beside the beautiful (and smart) Guinevere who has come into his life.

The Knights of the (newly formed) Round Table, plus Merlin, offer relationship advice, but ultimately Arthur must discover his own path to rule and to woo. But first a sword fight with the Demon.

Demon stirs up trouble between the kids and the adults.As usual a huge part of the fun is the audience participation; booing evil, cheering goodness, and hoping that love will find a way. The songs and dances add to the energy and merriment.

The settings include the castle throne room, gardens, woods, and kitchen. The costumes are Medieval fashionable, and the cast a large group of talented singers, dancers, and actors.

KING ARTHUR’S COURT runs from Fri. Dec. 14 ( at 7:30 ) until Jan. 5  with 9 matinees at 2:00 PM. The running time is approximately 90 minutes with one intermission.

Writing a Panto

We asked panto playwright Catherine Morrison to tell us a little about what goes into writing a Panto.  Here is what she shared with us:

Merlin reads the map in King Arthurs Court.Of course there is no magic formula for writing a successful Panto and like many other experiences you learn on the job. In case you should think it is easy – it is not. There are many more factors to be considered than just the character’s dialogue.

A Panto is generally interspersed with song – hopefully not just any song, but songs that have some relevance to the plot, the characters singing them etc., etc. which narrows your criteria.

I frequently start with the songs and build a story around them. I have had ideas for songs to use; that I afterwards threw out having found something else, I felt would better suit.  For King Arthur’s Court I had two different songs in mind for the young Arthur and Merlin to sing re the teachings about nature. In the end, I didn’t use either of them, instead deciding on a song that was funnier and gave the information in a more concise way.

The original opening number song I wrote for “King Arthur’s Court” had a problem with the instrumentation portion.  It was likely going to be a continuing problem so I wrote a completely different song from completely different source (“There’s a Big Woman Cooking in the Kitchen”)

Mrs Baker the Dame of King Arthurs Court sips her coffee.A big consideration when writing a musical or Panto is – how many scene changes are there going to be? Usually there are multiple sets and locales as part of the Musical comedy formula. If there is a set to be changed you will have to write a scene to cover this fact. That means (generally) a short speaking scene very far downstage (close to the audience).

But – is the scene you have written too long? Will your audience lose interest? Is it too short and the cast/ crew doesn’t have time to do the scene change? How much needs to change behind the curtain? Furniture, props, what else?

The Knights of King Arthurs Court are easily confused by Merlins map.Three years ago I wrote and directed the Metro Panto “Sleeping Beauty”. There was a very problematic costume change for everyone before the Act 1 Finale. The cast tried and tried to get their costumes changed in time but couldn’t manage it (and a nude Panto wasn’t an option).

It was the night before the Preview performance. As I drove home an idea came to me. I would add a “bit” for the “Dame “(played by Chris Adams, who is directing our current Panto)  I had deliberately left his character out of the second of the first act to set up his hilarious song “Whatever Happened to my Part”?,  (which “ brought down the house “ every night)  If a small scene was added before the finale it would give the cast the much-needed time to change.

Merlin cries tears of joy as King Arthur and Guinevere fall in love.So……………..The Dame came out ( in front of the “reds”-  the red curtains which most proper theatres have ) and said he/she was going to sing a song and proceeded to hand the Musical Director  ( seated at the keyboard in the pit ) the music to “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town”. We let Chris sing a few bars and then gradually brought the lights down as he yelled and complained “I’ll get you for this”. It set up his song nicely in the second act and “bought” us the extra minute we needed.

As a Panto writer it is better if you can plan for difficulties like this (or any others), but that is not always possible. It is hard to think of everything – sometimes you have to think of something – eventually!

And hopefully before the show is in front of an audience!