The monologue I decided to choose is a monologue from Jack in the Beanstalk spoken by Jack's mother. I decided to pick it because it was one of the more fun monologues I came across. It seemed easier to apply a more movement-based convention as well. My biggest struggle with the monologue is that whenever I read the lines, I read them in a posh-British-lady voice, not what a dame is. There are moments in the script where acting more feminine and more masculine makes the lines funnier, but posh doesn't work for the whole thing. I think the other part that I'm struggling with is focusing on movement rather than gesture. I need to get the idea that I'm the director, and I need to focus more on blocking rather than how my character gesture. I think I'm doing an ok job with it, but it's not entirely where I want it to be in terms of how much I look like a dame. I think once I have the script memorized, it will become easier and more natural. Still, for the time being, I'm writing many notes on my monologue to understand how I want to move during certain lines.
Once I decided I wanted to explore the dame's movement, I got incredibly excited because of my love for acting outrageous and goofy. I thought that since it was one of the more popular elements of a pantomime, it wouldn't be hard to find information on the dame. I wasn't wrong that it wouldn't be hard to find information about the dame, but I struggled to find information about moving like a dame. I only found this information recently, and my excitement returned. For the most part, most of my exploration has come in taking notes on the movement and drawing pictures from what I've watched from performances by different dames. From my notes, I've stood in front of my mirror and made an effort not to laugh at myself as I tried to look like a dame as possible. I think the biggest struggle for me is that I have trouble taking the ridiculousness seriously because it's so ridiculous. Due to this I spend a good majority of the time either laughing at myself or pick apart everything I do because I'm not doing it to the standards of what I've watched. Like my art, however, I need to learn to let loose and understand that not everything has to be perfect.
Finding sources in the context of Pantomime was surprisingly more difficult than I predicted. I do have some books on the way that will hopefully add to the notes I've taken on Pantomime's background. Still, the sources I have so far have pretty good information as to where Pantomime originated. The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre made it clear that British Pantomime did not develop in England. In The Story of Pantomime, they make the prediction that Pantomime originates from the Ancient Romans, where they had feasts called Saturnalia that were celebrated at the same time as Christmas today. Just like in Pantomime, people would cross-dress in the performances. Many years later, French Harlequins (or clowns) became popular and possessed many of the physical and silly attributes seen in Pantomime. Harlequins then translated into 'Italian Night Scenes' where they performed some Commedia del' Arte and many slapstick performances in England. Because British people enjoyed these performances so much, they took the elements they liked and tweaked them into the Pantomime theatre tradition. The information above is a basic summary of the information I took notes on, and I'm not sure how accurate it is. I'm kind of worried about my struggle to find good sources, but I hope once I get my books, the information that I wasn't sure about would make more sense.
Hughes, Maureen. A History of Pantomime. Pen & Sword History, 2013. Google
Books, Pen & Sword History, www.google.com/books/edition/
Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.
Trussler, Simon. The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre. Cambridge
UP. Google Books, Cambridge UP, www.google.com/books/edition/
cover. Accessed 2021.
MACQUEEN-POPE, W. "THE STORY OF PANTOMIME." Journal of the Royal Society of
Arts, vol. 105, no. 5002, 1957, pp. 456–458. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/
stable/41366062. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.
I was surprised to find that I had no trouble picking the world theatre tradition that I'm the most interested in researching. When starting this project we were asked to research three traditions and pick the one that you liked the best. The three that I decided to look into were pantomime, khan dance drama, and comedy of manners. Pantomime was the first tradition I looked into and there's no question that it is my favorite due to the goofy nature of the tradition. Also, out of the three I researched, it was the easiest to do the project on because I could use any of the elements for the tradition. I think out of all of these the most interesting to me what the khan dance drama because it's a tradition I hadn't known about previously and I thought all the costumes were so beautiful and different from anything I've seen previously. Unfortunately, I knew I didn't want to do the tradition because of my discomfort with dance. Although I do enjoy the comedy type involved in comedy of manners, it was the tradition I was the least excited about mostly because I struggled to find much on the tradition in my brief research but I had also already contributed on a show (The Importance of being Earnest) that was under the comedy of manners tradition.