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    George Lucas’ world comes alive in The Little Theatre’s latest pantomime.

    From the films and comic books to the video games, we have all been fans of Star Wars.

    This week, The Little Theatre will cast Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in their parody, Star Warz — The Panto Menace.

    The 22nd edition of this annual  Christmas pantomime promises a generous dose of comic elements in a 100-minute act, packed with singing, dancing and fighting.

    Krishnakumar Balasubramanian, the  play’s director and scriptwriter, says, “While the major theme is Star Wars, the play is a social satire, silver-laced with humour.”

    Krishnakumar says that pantomimes deal with socially relevant subjects under the guise of fairy tales. “Unlike Star Wars, in the play, the creature Chewbacca will be someone who is conscious about his hair, whereas Master Yoda is a master of making  noodles,” he says.

    Their aim, ultimately, is to make people laugh and keep  things relatable, he adds.

    The compère strikes back Despite the theme being chosen much in advance, the director says that the script for the panto was written only after the cast was chosen, keeping in mind the strength, potential and the requirements of the young artistes.

    The script retains the ages-old British tradition of having a girl lead dressed as a man.

    For Krishnakumar, what makes his act successful is the strength of new actors every year.

    With a cast of 95 members (aged 4-35 years), their biggest challenge is to get the performers to bond as an ensemble, he says.

    Pantos in a bunch

    Set in the present day, the production has tracks from the 1970s and ’80s, along with popular tracks like Moves like Jagger by Maroon 5 and Hello by Adele, rewritten for the play.

    As the panto features a bunch of amateur actors, “The choreography has to be such that the steps are beautiful and simple, so the audience can understand and join along,” says Krishnakumar, who made his directorial debut in 2010 at the Little Festival’s first edition, and has done four pantos since 2012.

    Starting with the auditions four months prior to the performance, he emphasises that, unlike regular plays, the panto is improvisational, and there is a lot of interaction involved.

    With hovering spaceships, tie fighters, x-wings and several lightsaber duels, the director asks us to be ready for some unexpected comedy, dance and music.

    At Museum Theater, Egmore. December 16-21. Tickets from Rs 100 onwards on explara.com

    —Sakina Valsadwala

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