Like or loath Facebook, there are a few things about it that I am truly grateful for.
Obviously being able to connect with old friends and family (particularly at Christmas) who now live a long way away is one, and another is those wee reminders of things that happened “On this Day.” I read one of those this morning
“My cheeks are black with mascara following the comedy gold that was the P1 Christmas Nativity”
Just thinking about it now has my eyes creased in a smile, it’s one of the funniest things I have ever sat through, even Richard Curtis would struggle to recreate anything remotely on this level.
To set the scene, you have to imagine a very (very) middle class school, with a mix of parents ranging from normal through to personalised plates on the Ferrari (I know – don’t!).
Anyhow there is always fierce competition for the best seats, where one can be seen to be supporting one’s little darling, assuming the said individual can occasionally look up from their phone long enough to set eyes on their child.
To date the best we’ve done is to get seats about four rows back, but thats ok, we’ve always been spotted by the boys, they know we are there.
So imagine if you will, an Assembly Hall full of parents vying for position and scrabbling over seats.
As we all sit down the passive aggression is tangible as visual daggers are launched across the room like missiles.
Everyone gets their game face on, as the children filter in and take their place on the stage.
It gets off to a good start with a domestic between Mary & Joseph about who gets to hold The LittleBabyGeezuz.
To her credit, Mary wins with a well timed tug and then holds the doll vice like for the rest of the production, scowling at Joseph if he as much as looks in LittleBabyGeezuz’s direction. So far so contemporary.
The Archangel Gabriel has delivered his lines four times already and this is his fifth performance, he is soooo over it, the boredom comes across and he delivers Mary’s good news between his teeth, with a deadpan tone worthy of Alan Rickman.
Unfortunately, there is no room at the inn, so it’s off to the stable – thats a duff review on trip advisor right there. But no sooner are they settled in, than the shepherds arrive.
Lined up along the back wall of the stage, the shepherds (including my youngest) form a good bulk of the cast and are clothed in traditional shepherd costume of bathrobe and tea towel.
I would hazard a guess that when they left their classroom they were immaculate, but by this stage robes are hanging off and most of the tea towel headwear is sitting at a jaunty angle.
I recognise my own tea towel, hanging entirely over my son’s face and realise this may well be deliberate, he’s never been one for big productions – he’s more of a stand up guy at heart.
Ah, the shepherd next to him is having some fun; his headwear is also loose and he’s pinging the elastic band off the innkeeper’s shoulder. Every time the innkeeper looks round, he’s met with a face of innocence, the wee twerp is playing the audience now and I can see his parents slouching in their seats in front.
Time for a song and when it ends we get an impromptu solo from one little boy who repeats the last verse – much to the surprise of the teacher on the piano. Not as surprised as another shepherd who wasn’t concentrating and fell off the back of the stage.
It’s time for a bit of royalty and we are treated to a turn from the three Kings. There is a bit of a power struggle going on as they each try to get close to the mic. it starts with a slight jostle, and a push is pushed back (as they sing) but it escalates and eventually ends with one of the Kings giving the other two the most almighty shove, knocking the pair of them off stage where he continues to sing the song as a solo. That child will go far!
Well I couldn’t help it, at this stage I was roaring laughing. I know that the other performances had gone without a hitch, and the poor teachers were mortified, but this just made it funnier and as Shepherd No1 finally twanged his elastic into the audience, his parents shame was complete.
I’m sure I nearly pulled a muscle laughing. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.