What is a Pantomime?
Pantomime stems from the Italian street performers, Comedia d‘el Arte. These were a group of itinerant actors who travelled from village to village collecting information on notable citizens such as the mayor and council and then performing an impromptu show on the street.
The names were used making fun of these V.I.P.‘s throughout the play. The roles of women were always played by men as it was considered vulgar for women to appear on stage at that time. It wasn't many years later that women were able to take up the profession.