wildforce71: (Mal not lost)
[personal profile] wildforce71
Alright, I couldn't help myself. This way, I could explain everything under cover of Ashley explaining to Andros.

(see end for notes)


A Very Mega Christmas





"What do you call this again?"

"Pantomime," Ashley said patiently.

"Panto," Cassie corrected her. "No one calls it pantomime, it takes too long to say."

"I meant the actual name."

"Oh. Aladdin."

"And we couldn't do this in Angel Grove because..."

"Andros, lighten up," Zhane protested. "It's just a show."

"There's no panto troop in Angel Grove," Ashley told him. "It's not really an American thing. I came with my cousins when I was young, but I haven't been in years."

"It looks like fun," Karone offered.

"Atta girl," TJ said cheerfully, arriving just in time to hear her. "Everyone ready? Anyone want a flashy light wand? My treat."

"Yes please!" Ashley said quickly.

"What does it does?" Andros asked, following her towards the vendor.

"It flashes coloured lights in patterns," Ashley explained. "The performers can't really see the audience, because of the stage lights, but they can see these." She took her wand from TJ, smiling thanks at him.

Andros held out a hand and she gave him the wand, watching him wave it solemnly. "Something like that," she agreed, biting her lip.

"Looks good on you, Andros," Zhane said briskly. "Two, please." Karone smiled when he presented her with one, waving it quickly to make patterns in the air.

Cassie and Carlos came back, both carrying popcorn and bottles of water. "Ready?" Carlos asked. "They're seating people."

"Let's go," TJ agreed.



Andros jumped the first time Ashley booed the villain, glancing around uncomfortably. "Ash..."

"This is the point of panto," Ashley said softly. On his other side, Zhane was joining in loudly. "The audience joins in. Watch - Oh no you won't!"

"Oh yes I will!" the actor proclaimed.

"Oh no you won't!" the audience screamed.

"Ah, whadda you know." He stalked off stage, muttering angrily.

"We're supposed to - heckle?"

Ashley made a mental note to check how much time Zhane was actually spending watching the Muppet Show. "Not heckle, just join in. You'll get it."

"Boo!" Zhane yelled.

"That's the hero," Carlos told him.

"Yay!"

On stage Aladdin grinned, waving in their direction.

"It's not very serious," Andros noted.

"It's not supposed to be."

Widow Twanky paused the show to make fun of some latecomers who'd been trying to sneak into their seats; the backup dancers joined her on stage, torches in hand, and serenaded the unfortunate couple with 'You're late.' The man grinned, bowing to the audience before settling down.

Zhane leaned across Andros to catch Ashley's eyes. "On - at home - once a show starts, it never stops. There was a fire, once, when we were small, and the actors were still reciting even while we were evacuating. It kept the audience calm."

"Hey, in the balcony!" one of the actors called. "Are you joining in or what?"

"Yes sir!" Zhane yelled cheerfully.

"I'm not a sir, I'm Wishee Washee! Now let's hear you. One two three..."

"Ah-so," Andros offered, when Zhane just looked confused.

"Well done. At least someone is listening. All together now, one two three..."

"Ah-so!" the audience chorused.

Andros joined in the booing the next time Abanazar appeared, though Ashley had to nudge him to get him started. Zhane had given his wand to Cassie and was helping himself to popcorn. Andros leaned past him to catch Karone's eye; she smiled, waving her wand at him.

The three Kerovans got a little lost on some of the call-and-responses; since they didn't know the story, they weren't always sure what the actors should be doing. Zhane cheerfully yelled whatever came into his head; Karone and Andros were taking their cues from Carlos and Ashley, respectively.

When the genie appeared, catapulted into the air from below the stage, Andros sat forward, attention caught. The next dance was on a completely blacked-out stage; only the dancers dressed in white were visible, and by leaning on dancers dressed in black they were able to 'float' and 'fly' across the stage. When they cleared the stage the carpet appeared; lit from below, it genuinely seemed to float. When Aladdin, singing Defying Gravity, stepped onto it, it started moving, flying around the stage and right out over the audience.

The curtain fell on his last, triumphant note, and Andros blinked. "Is it over?"

"Half time. Come on." Ashley tugged at his arm. "Zhane, you too."

Zhane obediently followed her. "Where are we going?"

"Ice cream." Ashley smiled, making for one of the woman carrying trays. "Panto tradition. Hi, seven tubs, please."

"Sure." The woman passed the little tubs to Zhane and Andros. "Are you enjoying the show?"

"Very much, thank you," Andros said politely.

"Great. Here you go." She gave Ashley a handful of little plastic spoons. "Enjoy the second half."

"Thank you," Ashley said cheerfully, heading back to the seats.

Cassie and Karone had vanished - 'bathroom break', Carlos said when Andros asked - and Zhane carefully put their ice creams on the balcony rail. TJ dug into his, grinning.

Andros poked at his, frowning. "My spoon broke."

"Here." Ashley gave him a spare. "It'll be starting back up soon. Are you enjoying it?"

"I don't understand it. Why are we joining in?"

"That's the point of a panto."

"It's more fun for kids," Cassie added, resting a hand on Andros' shoulder for balance as she squeezed past him. "Kind of like being part of the show. Oooh, ice cream - thanks, Ash."

The lights dimmed and Andros frowned. "I haven't finished my ice cream."

"Just keep eating."

He carefully loaded up a spoon and offered it to her. Ashley grinned, letting him spoon it into her mouth.

The music picked up, the curtain rose and Wishee was back on stage with the dancers. Aladdin appeared in his shiny 'prince' clothes and the plot, such as it was, started up again.

Andros leaned forward to pay better attention. Zhane leaned across behind him for Ashley's attention again. "That little girl is creepy."

"Which little girl?"

"They're all creepy," TJ murmured, and Cassie hit him. "Ow."

Zhane was counting. "One, two, three..."

"Ah-so," Karone whispered, and he grinned over his shoulder at her.

"Fourth from the right," he told Ashley.

"It's the grin." Andros shrugged his shoulders; when Zhane let go, he sat back.

"They all grin like that."

"They're trained to," Ashley explained. "Look, the adults are doing it as well."

"It's not creepy on them," Zhane muttered, sliding down in his seat.

On stage the dancers vanished, leaving Aladdin to bemoan his princess, kidnapped by Abanazar. Wishee was attempting to cheer him up.

“He’s trying not to laugh,” Andros noted.

“How can you tell?” Ashley squinted down towards the stage. Aladdin did seem to be biting the inside of his cheek, but...

“I have to take Zhane to diplomatic meetings,” Andros said dryly. “I know that look.”

“Hey!”

“I’m so glad there’s no one sitting behind us,” Carlos remarked to Cassie.

“I know, we’d have been thrown out by now,” she agreed. Zhane grinned, stealing a handful of her popcorn and turning back to boo Abanazar as he came back on.

Aladdin was fine in his next scene. The scene after that, though, while he was ‘sneaking’ around Abanazar’s palace, Wishee turned up in what looked like a bright red pleather catsuit, and Aladdin just lost it. Laughing too hard to get his lines out, he retreated towards the back of the stage, trying to catch his breath.

“Four years of drama school and this is the best he can do,” Wishee lamented towards the audience. “How’re you doing, Aladdin? We’ve got a show to finish, you know?”

Aladdin waved him off, taking a few deep breaths. Finally settled, he came back to join them...

And broke down again.

The audience were in on it by now, laughing and good-naturedly catcalling him. Finally he took a deep breath, calming himself and coming back to centre stage to join the others.

“I’ve forgotten where we are,” he said finally, glancing around for help.

“Ah, here. ‘Scuse me, Mrs?” Wishee looked down at the front row. “What’s the last thing we said before he started laughing?”

The woman repeated Aladdin’s last line and the actors picked back up. Ashley, sides weak from laughing, leaned back against Andros. “Oh, wow.”

“That wasn’t part of the show?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Boo,” Andros said abruptly. Surprised, Ashley sat back up; Abanazar had reappeared, complete with knife-wielding servants, and the whole group was engaged in Scooby-doo-esque running around the stage. When they finally stopped Aladdin had the lamp and the Princess was safe behind the vast bulk of Widow Twanky.

“Abanazar! You have been defeated. The audience hated you...”

“No we didn’t!” someone yelled from the audience.

Laughing helplessly, Aladdin turned to the audience. “Whose side are you on anyway? Genie, what do you think we should do with Abanazar?”

“You cannot defeat me!” Abanazar proclaimed.

“Here, I think that’s your man from Boyzone!” one of the backing dancers suddenly hissed.

“I will return!”

“What’s he doing here?”

“You shall never be free of me!”

“Here, Mikey, you’re looking a bit sick, are you alright?”

“I will have my revenge!”

“He’s good,” Cassie hissed at Ashley, who nodded.

“Why?” Zhane asked.

“That second guy isn’t supposed to be doing that. He’s just trying to get a reaction.”

Abanazar ignored him magnificently, playing through his final scene and vanishing in a flurry of genie power. Aladdin and most of the others vanished, leaving Wishee and his back-up comic relief, UPong, to lead the crowd song.

“It’s a sort of 12 Days of Christmas thing,” he told the crowd, “but we’re using our own words. You’ll pick it up.”

“Are we supposed to join in?” Andros murmured.

“Yes,” Ashley told him, laughing as Wishee threw UPong’s props off stage. UPong retaliated by hanging Wishee’s too high for him to reach, and Widow Twanky had to come on stage to calm them down and get the song finished. Once they were done they ran off stage and the cast started filing back on for their final bows.

Andros stood when the others did, clapping just as enthusiastically. Wishee waved for everyone to sit back down, clearing his throat. “Now, you all know this is our last night...”

“Aw!” Ashley called, and the rest of the audience joined in.

“Yeah, yeah, we know, it’s a tragedy. But! We have some shoutouts, to people here in the audience and to people who helped make the show possible. Let’s do the audience first, then you can start sneaking away. I saw you,” he said, directly to a man in the second row. “Putting your coat on! Trying to be ready first! Huh. Right, what’ve we got. Ritchie!”

He ran through several names before saying, “And this one is to the Megaship crew...”

“Whoo!” Carlos cheered, and the others joined in. Wishee shielded his eyes, peering up at them.

“Aw, it’s you lot, might have known. Well done, lads. Next...”

Ashley laughed, leaning back against Andros and feeling his arm wrap around her. “That was great. Thanks, Carlos.”

“Me? I didn’t arrange that.”

She sat up again, eyeing him. “You didn’t? TJ?”

“I didn’t even know we were coming until today.”

“Not me,” Cassie added.

Ashley glanced at Zhane, but he shook his head immediately. “I didn’t even know what a panto was until...two and a half hours ago. How was I supposed to arrange this?”

She had to agree with that, and she settled back against Andros while Wishee read out the rest of the notes and thanked a bunch of backstage people. When he was finished, they scrambled to their feet again to sing the final chorus and applaud the cast.




“Well?”

“Well what?” Andros finished checking DECA’s systems and turned. Ashley was leaning against the doorframe, watching him.

“Well, did you enjoy it?”

“It was fun,” he admitted.

“So maybe we’ll go again next year?”

“Sounds good.”

She smiled, rubbing her face, and he grinned. “Come on, you’re tired. I’ll walk you to your room.”

“Thanks.”

They passed Alpha as they left the bridge, and Ashley paused. “Night, Alpha.”

“Did you have a good time?”

“A great time, thank you.”

“That’s good. I’m glad you enjoyed it. See you tomorrow.”

“Night,” Andros said, touching Ashley’s shoulder and leading her down the corridor. Alpha watched them leave before turning away, entering the bridge and letting the door hiss closed behind him.








Notes:

Pretty much everything the Astros saw here happened in the panto I saw. The main difference is that right near the start Wishee wasn't talking to the balcony; he spoke to a woman in the front and continued to talk to her during the show. But the people coming in late, Aladdin losing it on stage, the song with Wishee and UPong fighting over the props - all of that happened. I love the panto.

If you missed my post about panto and some of it's traditions, it's here.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-01 10:15 pm (UTC)
defeatedbyabridge: (Default)
From: [personal profile] defeatedbyabridge
Hehehehehehe, fabulous. <3 I love what you've done with this.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-02 10:40 am (UTC)
starlit_purple: (pr: andros/zhane smile)
From: [personal profile] starlit_purple
Aww, this was cute! And you've so made me want to go to one of these. It sounds doubly fun! :D

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wildforce71: Takeru smiling. Sort of. A bit. (Default)
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