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Pantomime returns to Oregon Country Fair

Nathan Wilk
The Fremont Players. Keith Neale, right, is the son of the group's founder.

An absurdist take on a children’s folktale comes to the Oregon Country Fair.

“The Empress’ New Clothes” is a new comedy in the tradition of British panto, a genre of interactive theater. It features a live band and call-and-response participation.

Myron Sizer plays Pendleton in the production:

“The audience is encouraged to holler, yell, sing, shout out at the cast, and the whole general scheme of it is kind of crazy. It's meant to be silly.”

The Fremont Players have performed panto at the Fair for two decades. When founder Simon Neale died in 2019, the troupe continued with his son, Keith.

With this production, the cast reunites for the first time since before the pandemic. Sizer says that they have struggled to connect amid busy lives.

There will be six performances of “The Empress’ New Clothes” this weekend. The show is intended for all-ages.

Nathan Wilk is a freelance reporter, a former reporting intern and a graduate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He began in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon.