The Tales and Traumas of a Modern School Nativity
Posted on December 06 2014
So, as in so many British households, we’re in the run up to the Christmas nativity. Jimmy is in reception and this year they’re performing Whoops a Daisy Angel. It’s a modern spin on the nativity with the main character ‘Whoops a Daisy’ experiencing calamities throughout her journey to Bethlehem where she eventually oversees the birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph (mere bit parts in Whoops a Daisy…).
Jimmy has been given the role of one of the three Kings, which I must admit that in competitive Mummy mode (I try not to, but who can help it?!), I was rather chuffed with. I mean, King, that’s a good part surely? Especially when you hear that the Kings have a helper each. A helper! I just knew that it was one of the main parts, because the teachers could obviously see his star potential, right?
Wrong. The evening following the first rehearsal, we had tears at home. Jimmy was horrified that his part only consisted of walking around in a circle, bowing, then placing down a present. (Can you tell he has inherited Mummy’s diva characteristics?) Through sobs he explained that he didn’t even have a line to say and that worst of all, the school provided the costumes so he couldn’t even have one of Mummy’s King costumes to wear!
So I decided to take the Phoebe from Friends approach when she is given the job of cups and ice at Rachel’s party (sorry to any non-Friends fans), if Jimmy was going to be the King, he’d be the best King there could ever be. I pictured Daniel Day Lewis with his method acting. Jimmy would have to live, breathe and become a King. So we have so far practiced how a King would eat his Weetabix, play football, brush his teeth, get ready for school and on and on. Jimmy’s embraced the technique and I hear him talking to his teddies in a Kingly voice when he’s going to sleep at night. Good boy!
Rehearsals are really getting going and every night Jimmy comes home singing another song from the show. He loves a bit of music and drama so this is definitely a good time of year for him.
The one sour note about the Christmas nativity for me is that it’s always such a shame that grandparents don’t get to go. My mother-in-law is really close to Jimmy and actually lives with us at the moment, so she gets to hear all the songs, see all the method acting, but won’t get to see the show itself as we’re limited to two tickets per family. I totally understand why, health and safety and all that, but it’s one of those times where I just think wouldn’t it be nice to throw caution to the win and let the Grandparents squeeze in if they are really keen to see the show. I’d love to hear the teacher’s perspective on this one.
The other awful one is when parents themselves are unable to get the time off work, I mean, what kind of boss would be unsympathetic to letting a parent see their child’s nativity? You’d have to have a heart of stone. One Mum at Jimmy’s school was telling me that her boss has refused her time off unless she can find someone to stand in which she hasn’t been able to. How heart-wrenching. These are the times that don’t last for long and we should be able to enjoy them… I might start an online petition to force all workplaces to allow time off for the nativity, oh and sportsday! Who’s with me?!
Enjoy your Christmas plays whatever they may be and whatever part your child has been given. These are the times we’ll never forget.