While beloved by most, Cornhuskin’ has not been endorsed by all. Many have criticized Cornhuskin’ for being trivial, unartistic and something that doesn’t contribute to the education of students. I think that many of Corn’s biggest advocates, the students who take Corn extremely seriously, would also agree with the criticism. The general consensus of Corn has become, “it’s not real theater, it’s just for fun.” However, as a lover of theatre and theatre history and as someone who thoroughly enjoys Cornhuskin’, this has become a statement I disagree with. After participating in many parody plays and outrageous comedies, I saw clear stylistic similarities to Corn. With a little deeper research it became clear that much of Cornhuskin’ is derived from the historical european tradition, British Panto. Panto is a holiday tradition in the UK that takes a typically well known story, like Cinderella or Aladdin, and twists it with inside jokes catered to the region where its being performed (sound familiar?). Other tropes of Panto are exaggerated acting, pop music, dancing and audience participation. British Panto dates all the way back to 1717 when actor John Rich created his famous harlequin character, and since then many famous modern actors have participated in and endorsed the Panto including Henry Winkler, George Takei, John Barrowman, Richard Madden, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. So, next Cornhuskin’, keep in mind that you are participating in both rich Meredith history and an international theatrical tradition.
By Hannah Davis Johns, Staff Writer