The Over Players

Panto 2012 - Cinderella

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The Over Players

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A Pantomime by Sean Baker

Directed by Sean Baker

Tuesday 4th December to Saturday 8th December 2012
at The Community Centre, Over

The most popular pantomime story owes its popularity to Charles Perrault who retold this already ancient tale in 'Contes de ma Mere L'Oye', published in Paris in 1697.

There are many older versions of this 'rags to riches' story; Scotland had a version called 'Rashin Coatie' – after the garment of rushes a King's daughter had to wear because of her three wicked step-sisters. In this version, as with many others, there is no fairy godmother – Rashin Coatie received her magic from a slaughtered calf. Other versions, like 'Ashenputtel' from the Grimm Brothers sees her with two step-sisters, and she is aided by a white bird, perched on a tree. In each case the heroine is able to meet her Prince through her kindness to others.

Possibly the oldest version exists in China, from a book written around 850–860AD. Yeh-shen the heroine is kept in rags by her stepmother. This time it is a magic fish that grants her desires. The version includes the loss of a slipper, and after a search for the owner, Yeh-shen gets to marry the King.

The slipper – in some versions made of silk, is sometimes believed to be the result of a mis-translation of Perrault's story. It has been mooted that he described the slipper as 'vair' (rabbit fur), rather than 'verre' (glass). However, it is likely that Perrault always intended the slipper to be made of glass – glass cannot be stretched and thus could be seen to fit. The final proof must be that the Perrault title was 'Cendrillon, ou la petit pantoufle de verre'.

Cinderella was first performed as a pantomime in 1804 at Drury Lane. By 1820, Cinderella's father had become a baron and both Dandini and the stepsisters had made their first appearances. In 1860 a version similar to the modern-day pantomime appeared: in Cinderella: or, The Lover, the Lackey, and the Little Glass Slipper, Buttons made his debut and the stepsisters became 'ugly'.

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