A long time ago, in an allegory far, far away, Travesty the God of Misrule would amorously pursue minor goddesses and nymphs. On one such excursion, his wondering eye fell on Achnestasia and Frizzella, the Goddesses of Ill-Favoured Siblings. In order to conceal them from his jealous wife, he killed a passing cow and took it’s hide for the sisters to hide inside. To further the subterfuge, Travesty then took the form of a goose before engaging in a highly unconventional menagerie a trois. All his efforts were to no avail though. For his suspicious spouse found out and cursed the unfaithful God. Once cursed, Travesty found himself unable to change back out of his goose form! And so he remained until, with much honking, he laid a painfully large golden egg. Now, restored to his original form, Travesty incubated the egg in the warm cinders at the side of his hearth. At the stroke of midnight, on the bleakest day of midwinter, the egg cracked and Comedia Dell’Farté burst dramatically forth in an explosion of song, laughter and glitter. Within a wave of a wand, she had taken her place amongst the pantheon as the deity of jollity during dark days. The Goddess of Pantomime.
The temples of Comedia Dell’Farté resemble great palaces from the front, and tumbledown 19th century tenements from the rear. Whilst the congregation enter through imposing doors at the top of sweeping marble staircases, the priesthood must enter through the stage door, under a leaking gutter, off a urine-scented alley around the back, (I think it is something to do with maintaining spiritual humility). Inside the temple you will find a great auditorium, lavishly decorated, with intricate gold leaf coated plasterwork and wine-dark upholstery. Catholics may be big in guilt, but the followers of Comedia prefer gilt. The temples all have their own clowder of temple cats, who are always shod up to the knee. In fact, these cats are known to be very particular about their footwear. They look fabulous strutting around the stalls in their knee-high Mioawnolo Blahniks and Jimmy Mews. Unlike other places of worship, Comedia’s temples do not have any bells. For, if the bells ring, all the Dicks turn around, and that can be a very distressing experience.
The rituals of Comedia Dell’Farté take the form of humorous apologue plays performed by the priesthood. Officially, there is a cycle of 12 sacred pantomime plays (there are some who argue that Robin Hood is not an official pantomime, but they’re just splitting arrows). One of the few hard rules of this religion is that you must never, ever mash-up pantomime plots. No one wants a repeat of those dystopian nightmare productions, “Jack Boots” and “Sleeping in the Woods”. Audience participation is essential in these rites. An experienced acolyte knows when to boo and hiss, when to cheer, and when to warn the protagonists about a stealthily approaching ghost. These acolytes may be of any age, but the many are little children (who come unto Comedia, no suffering required). The service always concludes with a community sing along for the whole flock, and a wedding.
The Dame Role in all the plays is reserved for the High Priest. Therefore, the High Priest must be a well-respected Thespian. So, every year, the church must send a mission to Thespia to drag one over. For the continued popularity of the faith, it is essential that they find a High Priest that has-beans, not a has-been. Whilst playing the role, the high priest will don outrageously flamboyant vestments and a pair of specially sanctified outsize prosthetic mammary glands known as “Biggins”. A great High Priest can directly channel the spirit of the deity, a phenomenon known as, “Dameonic Possession”, which causes them to speak in puns. The high priest is ably assisted by their second in command, Deacon Billy Buttons (who, before joining the priesthood, was a naval seaman).
In addition to carrying out the rites of Comedia Dell’Farté, the priesthood produces a faith discussion podcast called, “Jack and the Beans Talk”. They also run an ecclesiastical court whose judges all wear wigs as white as snow and robes as black as ebony, and are celebrated for being the fairest of them all. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so for recreation the cult of Comedia field a National League football team. “The Giant Killers” are renowned for regularly knocking Premier League teams out of the FA Cup in the early rounds. However, they always get defeated in the quarter finals because Cinderella keeps running away from the ball, their coach is a pumpkin and Mother Goose gets sent off for fowls.
If you love pantomime, Comedia Dell’Farté will always be behind you in everything you do. Some heathens say, “Oh no she isn’t”. However, Boys and Girls, we all know, “OH YES SHE IS!”
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