It’s that time of year, again….
Corridors are filled with angels running around trailing personal stereo leads - Mary has purple hair – (why?) and Joseph is arguing with the stunt sheep about an X-box. Just to the left is the Innkeeper, although the kid playing him looks like a trainee Hell’s Angel (without the Harley Davidson, of course).
All of which is probably preferable to a couple of years ago, when the boys playing Joseph and the Innkeeper were switched after two rehearsals due to ‘incompatibility with the romantic lead’ (Excuse me?). Unfortunately, the boy who was originally playing the Innkeeper fancied the girl who was playing Mary and was somewhat miffed to lose out to his (former) best friend. Come the night of the performance, the boy had got so annoyed over the apparent injustice that, when ‘Mary’ and ‘Joseph’ approached the Inn, hand in hand, and asked if there was room, he replied “Well, I’ve got room for her – but you can bugger off!” There followed a communal gasp from parents – and slight thud back-stage as the teacher/director swooned. (She now has a post in the Indian sub-continent.)
Then there was the time at the Minster when I was asked to provide one or two sound effects – well, one, actually. All that the director wanted was a fanfare on the horizontal trumpet rank as the angel appeared. I should have thought about possible consequences – you can hear the wretched things in The Square. (The trumpets, not the angels.) However, I gave no thought whatsoever to the likely outcome and agreed to improvise a fanfare at the appropriate moment. (I should perhaps mention that I was not needed at any rehearsals, since I had so little to do.) The day arrived, the play commenced; we got to the exact moment, the angel appeared and I duly played a stirring fanfare. Silence. A voice whispered from off-stage: “And the angel said….” Still silence. I looked around to see this boy in full angel-type regalia, white-faced and trembling from head to foot. A more urgent whisper emanated from an old curtain: “The angel said….!” A slight pause and then, from the boy playing the angel: “I WANT MY MUM….!!” …. And ran off the stage.
Next, we have the Carol Service. Perhaps this year we can survive without someone reading Thomas Hardy’s The Oxen. Or the Head Chorister’s voice dropping about two octaves during his solo….
However, more of this shortly….