Chiddingfoldnews December 24, 2012
December 21, 2012
Also known as 'Mumming', Tipteering might be the original form of Pantomime (from the Greek: pan, the whole or all; and mimos, referring to a theatrical style or technique) and perhaps even the origin of what we know as modern theatre.
Much of it’s origins seem to be pagan, involving the themes of death and resurrection around the winter solstice, but as few scripts or accounts have survived in written form this may be largely supposition. The play was performed in the past by the agricultural and other workers of the area who, in times of winter hardship, found that performing 'street theatre' was a welcome source of a little income! They also took the play around the large houses and performed for the 'gentry'.
The significance of the array of characters in a Tipteerer’s play seems lost to modern audiences, but has elements of a symbolic history of the British culture. Disguised, according to tradition, with blackened faces, the ‘guisers’, or players take the parts of King George, a Turkish Knight, Beelzebub, the Doctor, and especially Old Father Christmas, plus the Bold Captain, Little Billy Wittle and of course Slasher, the gallant soldier! Needless to say, Good King George wins the day against the infidel, who is killed, but brought back to life by the marvellous Doctor! All participants dress in what costume can be brought to hand; 'rags and tatters', and with their blackened faces, (to avoid recognition!), they ‘fight’ with wooden swords; and conclude by consuming beer whilst taking a collection! (This money will be donated to the Chiddingfold Bonfire Fund, who disburse their funds to the elderly of Chiddingfold each Xmas). Some raucous singing of Xmas Carols with much audience participation will round off a cheering event. To continue this modern re-enactment, the Chiddingfold Tipteerers will process through the village on Wednesday 26th December 2012, starting our first performance at The Crown PH at about 12.30pm. That should allow for an audience to gather at The Swan P.H. for another performance at about 1.15pm. We then intend to make our way to The Winterton for our finale, that should be about 3pm. We would welcome and indeed encourage interested local men/boys/ladies/girls who would be willing to dress up and have fun whilst continuing a very old tradition, to come along and join us. We are not looking for great acting - as anyone who has seen a mummers’ play will know - but rather a willingness to dress up, spread some fun, and to declaim some lines, loudly and with spirit. Particularly welcome would be anyone of a musical nature who would be able to fiddle,bang or blow an instrument, to accompany us! A big thank you to the licensees involved for quenching the players thirsts in previous performances. (We also perform a play to celebrate St. Georges' Day - 23rd April - watch out for that one too!)
Chiddingfoldnews do our best, not responsible for inaccuracies