A Tale of Two Nativities


Two quite different school plays over the last few days: Amber’s on Friday and Millie’s on Tuesday.  How did I find them?

nativity cartoonWell, of the two, I enjoyed Amber’s more – that’s not any kind of favouritism, it simply reflects the fact that this year it was the turn of Millie’s class to be “The Choir” (i.e., sit on the floor and keep your heads down), while Amber’s class was in the full glare of the lights onstage (and they do have a remarkable set of lights at Hurst Primary – hugely overpowered for what they need).

My enjoyment of Amber’s play (a nativity, of course) was marred only slightly by my having been out for my work Christmas party the night before.  The Lovely Melanie kept teasing me that the headmaster could smell it and was no doubt very displeased.  He probably could smell booze from the other side of the hall – I imagine there were waves of it rising off me like a heat haze! – but was good enough not to mention it.

Amber was a shepherd in her play and made a pretty decent fist of it, dressed in the traditional tea-towel head-dress and a baggy T-shirt.  She sang along with most of the songs, but was head-and-shoulders above her classmates in doing the actions and dancing.  In particular, she did an amazing hip wiggle to one Caribbean-style number!  We have some wobbly film of it (due to the distance and my shaky hands) which is rather glorious.

Hurst wisely kept her play short and to the point.  Mary and Joseph are introduced, angel informs her that god has seen fit to get her up the duff, they go to Bethlehem and get a room in a stable; baby pops out, shepherds and kings gate-crash, and everyone goes home happy after just 25 spell-binding minutes. 🙂

I wasn’t hungover for Millie’s play, even though I was out again the night before (didn’t want to get a reputation!) but watching other people’s children is never as interesting as watching your own, no matter how good (or bad) their acting skills are.  And this nativity was framed by a meta-narrative about modern day kids finding a magical book, meaning it went on for an hour.

We couldn’t see Millie, who was sat on the floor, although the Lovely Melanie says she caught a glimpse of her occasionally (usually yawning).  But though the singing was certainly better than in Amber’s play – surprisingly so, in fact – and some of the acting was exceptional, the whole thing was simply a bit too long.

Oh, and a lot more religious, too.  Unlike Amber’s, this one had lots of “Praise Him!” and “God is wonderful” and “The king of the world is here and isn’t it just so fabulous?!” and so on.  Yes, I know that’s the whole point of a nativity, but this on felt a bit too preachy and evangelical for my liking.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see if these reviews are reversed next year, when Millie will be up on the stage and Amber down on the floor…

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