"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Take three hundred and counting...

A staple part of daily life at the end of the autumn term in a primary school is the production of the Nativity play. In my last full time job, there was a tradition of using a real baby for Jesus. He (or she) lay in a full sized crib and was not touched by any of the other actors, so was quite safe and, oddly enough, there always seemed to be a new born candidate produced at just the right time.

In my present school, we are sticking to the artificial substitute and daily rehearsals include exhorting Joseph to pick the baby up gently and remember to support his head as he hands him to Mary. Producing a Nativity play with 22 children is a bit of a challenge - especially when it comes to crowd scenes, which have to be adapted slightly, but we're getting there. (Picture me, if you will, wearing my green visor, megaphone in hand.) Mind you, we are thinking of transforming one of the shepherds into a sheep if he continues to go AWOL - but then someone remembers that the shepherds are doubling up as the crowd, and if we did that, we'd only be left with a crowd of three. See, I told you some adaptations were necessary. Maybe a little imagination on the part of the audience will be helpful too.


Beachhutman said...

The school nativity play was progressing nicely. The holy couple were installed in the stable, the animals were grazing in reverence, and Mary was tending the new-born baby in the foreground of the stage. One of the shepherds entered dressed in his best candlewick bedspread, and approached the new mother, making appropriate bowing gestures. He then stood, faced the audience, and said his lines with great clarity, enquiring as to the name to be given to the child.

Mary seemd to be stuck. Had she forgotten the line?
The audience held its breath.
Then Mary smiled in recollection.

Turning to the shepherd, she announced, loudly and clearly, as she had been rehearsed,

"I shall call her Julia"

JustSue said...

Reminds me of a scene from one of my favourite movies "Love Actually".

Karen: So what's this big news, then?
Daisy: [excited] We've been given our parts in the nativity play. And I'm the lobster.
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: [beaming] Yeah, *first* lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
Daisy: Duh.

Thank heavens you aren't doing the PC version!

Jennyta said...

Julia - hmm has a ring to it.
As for lobsters, we haven't even got enough children for sheep or camels, Sue!

"Alice" said...

I also thought of the movie 'Love Actually' while reading. I think you need to have the Archangel announce to all..."Season's Greetings!" after all, Christmas is so, so...old fashion. [sarcasm off].

Honestly, I think it'll be wonderful and good luck!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Frankly, I am amazed at the cultural insensitivity of the leek-munching, coal-hewing, "Land of My Fathers"- singing Welsh taffies! This is now a multicultural country and performing a Nativity play could be extremely distressing to non-Christians such as our Islamic brothers and sisters and also I think you should start wearing a burkha when teaching your little charges from the Quorn - or is that some meat substitute?

Jennyta said...

It's OK, YP, I can offer free counselling afterwards to anyone unduly distressed. No burkha though. It's taken us all our time to find enough constumes for the children - them there Juniors had pinched 'em all!

Arthur Clewley said...

The pudding is right jenny about the risks of nativity plays, I know my peripheral part of a non-speaking shepherd when I was at school ruined my confidence and my film career before it even started, I could have been somebody, I could have been a contender, the Yorkshire Brando,If only I hadn't said i was going to 'make the baby jesus an offer he couldn't refuse, there's only one god the father around here' and my future was dashed that doomed december by the drama department deafness to my defense, although I think it was the fate of mary's donkey that had more to do with it. I still sometimes go outside wearing a sheet and point at the stars to this day, so badly was I affected.

Jennyta said...

Maybe I could offer you counselling too, Arthur! Me 'eart bleeds!


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