‘Aladdin’ Takes Us on a Magic Carpet Ride

Broken Box’s Newest Play Runs November 29 through December 1

In the coming weeks, Broken Box can be found in a rather unusual situation—guys dressing up as women, a girl playing the lead male and occasionally, some breaking into song. The reason? Broken Box is rehearsing “Aladdin,” the selection for this year’s annual fall production.

But don’t expect the Disney version. Created by Stuart Arden, this “Aladdin” is a British pantomime, which is a form of theater that incorporates a lot of audience participation.

“What’s nice about it is that it’s enjoyable for little kids, because they enjoy the physical humor, but a lot of the lines, a lot of the jokes are aimed at adults,” drama teacher Nancy Moran said. “You can really attract both ends of the spectrum for your audience.”

Cast members have been enjoying the different experience.

“I was really excited,” senior Marissa Palmor said. “We usually stick to things like Shakespeare … I think it’s good for us to be thrown into something challenging.”

Marissa will be playing the lead male role of Aladdin; the gender-switch is a tradition for British pantomime. Senior Grayson Carr plays Widow Twanky, Aladdin’s mother, also following the tradition of a male playing the lead female.

“It was hard in the beginning to find a character that wouldn’t be too annoying,” Grayson said. “It’s such a physical, big role—it can be really hard.”

British pantomime is largely based on puns and slapstick humor. But Broken Box had some more serious issues as well—the character of a Chinese inspector incited much debate.

“[His lines] were very stereotypical … of Asians,” Moran said. “And we have to be aware of how we present ourselves to the community.”

After several class discussions, the class decided to alter the character. However, rehearsals have been running smoothly.

Another unique aspect of this product is the addition of songs.

“They’re taken off really well-known songs,” junior Katie Chansler said. “They’re songs that people today would recognize. … We’re not really used to it so at first, it was kind of difficult.”

Nevertheless, they have so far come across only small problems with things like entrance and exit cues, appropriate gestures of shock and horror and cape-swishing techniques.

“They’ve really started to make it their own,” Moran said.

This is the first Broken Box production for sophomore Emma Carr, who plays Princess Martini, somewhat the equivalent of Disney’s Princess Jasmine.

“It’s exciting to finally be in Broken Box,” Emma said. “And I think [“Aladdin”] is a good play to start with, because it’s a comedy. It’s easier for actors to get into.

For both returning and new Broken Box members, “Aladdin” seems like it will be a success.

“It’s really fun … and really outrageous,” Marissa said.

Broken Box will be performing “Aladdin” November 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. and December 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $5 ahead of time and $8 at the door.