July 8, 2014 by David.Groveman
Panto is a play written in the style of Comedia Del Arte or English Pantomime. Characters who have existed in popular culture throughout the ages from Bottom to Groucho Marx and beyond. In the play, we follow the adventures of Panto, a British soldier caught within the Napoleonic wars. He does his best to avoid work and to take credit for the work of others. In the sample below we see the Dotore character as he views the massacre at Oporto.
Brigadier Southam stands looking out at his men marching off to battle against the French. He wears an elaborately detailed uniform with gold and silver brocade heavy with epaulettes. Major Pomfrey stands meekly behind the general looking only marginally alive.
Look at them, Pomfrey. Behold my men, marching in their neat little rows. Ten by ten as God intended infantry to be… Columns my good man. Would you look at that? Them! You can blast those daft fools with their moronic notions. Innovation … Poppycock! Innovation, my dear Pomfrey, is a nasty habit. Now I tell you that if one is to achieve a proper victory, one must employ precision marching and drill. Guerilla warfare? When have monkeys defeated a well-drilled column of British musketry? Pomfrey, what was that noise? Pomfrey? Why did that man on the left fall over? Never mind that, they’ve broken formation. Damn it all! Can you believe the audacity? Who ever heard of employing cannon on standard infantry formations? These French will stoop to anything. It is as if they expect we should allow our men to break rank and protect themselves. Why on earth would we do a thing like that? No matter, marching in neat columns worked for Rome and it will most assuredly work for us, only better. For after all, WE are British.
(Enter Lt. Colonel Southam and Captain Briggs.)