"Get down on your knees": Representing the Seven Dwarfs in the Pantomime

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v42i1.7576

Keywords:

Pantomime, dwarfism, Seven Dwarfs, theories of humour, disability humour

Abstract

Dwarfs are prominent figures within the entertainment industry, but there is limited academic focus on representations of them in the theatre. In this paper, I explore one of the most prominent representations of dwarfism in the theatre: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Drawing on theories of humour, the paper argues that the current representation of the Seven Dwarfs engages with disabling humour, which mocks their stature and has implications for people with dwarfism in society. Focusing on three different forms of casting including; using people with dwarfism, average height adults and children to fulfil the roles of the Seven Dwarfs, I argue that each representation promotes a negative stereotype of dwarfism, which can be explained by different theories of humour. In the last part, I suggest that using disability humour within scenes featuring the Seven Dwarfs can help to challenge stereotypes of dwarfism, which are less likely to have negative repercussions upon people with dwarfism in society.

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Published

2022-08-18