TAKE TWO: Gloudon and Vivian Crawford at last year's pantomime media launch. Members of the company performing Pirate Jack in 2010, below.
If one imagines that, in spite of the distinctively collaborative approach that goes into orchestrating the annual LTM National Pantomime, securing a triumph demands an effort of near-herculean proportions, you'd be on the money. As long-serving script writer/head cook and bottle-washer Barbara Gloudon tells TALLAWAH, putting together the musical production each successive year is no picnic.
"The major challenge for us is, How do you keep a tradition alive in such a rapidly changing environment and under these economic circumstances," she observes, seated behind her office desk at the Little Theatre lot. Among the company's primary objectives, Gloudon explains, is to make the show timely and relevant and fittingly entertaining, despite the obvious drawbacks. "There are things we can't do, we can't put certain things in [the show], so we absolutely have to work extra hard to make it attractive and enticing."
This year's show, The Golden Macca Fat, promises a feast of vivid imagery, rollicking song, dance and movement (Patrick Earle is doing the choreography) and a characteristically amusing, community-set story, all under the watchful eyes of director Pierre LeMaire. "We're well into rehearsals," Gloudon tells me. "In
fact, costumes are maybe the fastest part of the production, and we're busy working on the set."
What has always (and continues to) set the pantomime apart from other commercial productions doing business around the holiday season and beyond is a certain delightful and essentially Jamaican authenticity that family-centric audiences crave.
"There's definitely a core audience for it, or else it wouldn't have lasted 70-something years," the playwright concurs. "But you still, at the same time, want to spread your wings to attract new audiences. Right now we're working on a new device, which I can't tell you about now, but we're hoping it will add some more zing to the production."
>>Read on: Anya Gloudon talks about The Golden Macca Fat, and more