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Norman Robbins
Mother Goose

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Synopsis

This delightful pantomime combines the traditional tale ot Mother Goose with spirited songs and dances (to be chosen by the director) which can be simple or intricate, as desired. There is plenty of opportunity for audience participation, led by the irascible Billy, Mother Goose's son. Fun-packed action centres on the wicked Squire's Bailiffs, namely Sage and Onions; and Priscilla, the Magical Goose, instantly endears herself to all. As in all good pantomimes Fairy Harmony succeeds in helping good overcome evil and happiness prevails once more. The clever design of using simple settings and lane-cloth scenes ensures a successful production.

Author's Note

The presentation of this pantomime should cause little difficulty to experienced or inexperienced groups. Everything has been kept to the confines of the normal Community Hall, and lighting and props kept to a minimum. Every full stage scene is preceded by a lane-cloth scene, thus allowing plenty of time for setting up behind.

Costuming is traditional children's story-book type, with the exception of the character of Mother Goose, who, once she becomes rich, can wear almost anything outrageous, no matter what period or style.

Additional songs and dances may be added at the discretion of the director, or can be omitted from several parts of the script.

It is suggested, in the Prologue, that the attendant Fairies, etc., are played by the Babes, thus leaving the Junior and Senior Chorus members free for the opening of Scene One. In the Schoolroom scene all Chorus members are involved. If men are not available to play the two Evil Spirits of the Mirror in the Ballroom scene, two girls may be used, in which case, dress them in leotards and filmy draperies and omit Mother Goose's line, "I like the supporting pieces." The rest of the show should be self-evident.

The traditional "slap-stick" used in the Schoolroom scene is easily made with two thin strips of wood, about 18 inches long, and 1 inch in width, secured at one end with tape to create a grip, and a sliver of foam rubber or sponge inserted at the bottom of the V that is formed. About two inches down from the other ends, an elastic cord is fixed to hold the two ends from flying too far apart. When the stick is slapped on a solid surface, it should make a loud noise. If you have not the time or inclination to make one of these, an old-fashioned tawse can be simply made by using a 1½ inch wide piece of buckram, covered with dark felt, and the ends fringed to a depth of about three inches. Both look effective when striking someone, and neither do any harm.

Keep the pace brisk, the music bright, and above all, enjoy yourselves.

Cast

The Fairy Queen
Harmony, the good fairy
Discord, the wicked fairy
Clarence Creep, the village Squire
Jill Goose, the village belle
Colin, her sweetheart
Billy Goose, Jill's elder brother
Sage and Onions, the Squire's bailiffs
Mother Goose, a poor widow
Priscilla, the magic goose
Chorus of Villagers, Schoolchildren, Fairies, Babes, etc.

Dedication

For Martin Phillips, a small recognition of his invaluable assistance to me over the years with research and assembly and Dathanne (Kerby) E. Kerber of Illinois, USA, who, to the best of my knowledge, was the first Principal Boy in America in an all-American production of a British Pantomime.

Copyright © Norman Robbins 1986