Conversations With My Daughter #66

December 2014

Alice has been cast as Mary in the school nativity play. She has loudly announced this to everyone she meets. This has included school friends (who already know, because they’re all playing shepherds, sheep, kings or angels, and some of them aren’t happy about it), her teacher (who gave her the part the previous day), most of the parents on the school run, the friendly greengrocer, two different people working in Co-op, the delivery man standing in the back of the Co-op delivery lorry, some random people at the bus stop, and the bearded drunk (not me) who stands folorn outside the betting shop, smoking rollies all day.

I am both very proud, and somewhat worried. She does like applause and laughter, and she’s worked out how to achieve both, given the opportunity. She’s already been a feature of the daytime gigs by the surf band I play guitar in (what vocals we do are shouted, and having an occasional 5-year old vocalist gets a response). And she likes to improvise. Give her an audience and a microphone, and sooner or later she has to be dragged physically off stage. Last summer, she came onstage with us at a local festival and spent some of her performance pulling faces at the audience. I asked her later why she pulled so many faces, and she replied “because whenever I did, I got a round of applause and people laughed”. I was impressed. There are plenty of experienced musicians I’ve played with who don’t have that awareness of stagecraft.

However, she’s prone to going off-script on wild tangents.

"Now let's kill all the first-born...!
“Now let’s kill all the first-born…!”

She has already mentioned some of her ideas for her portrayal of the Holy Mother, but I’ve had to tell her already that baby Jesus will not “pop” out of her tummy, that the Annunciation was more sedate than a lightning strike, that she is not in charge of casting and she cannot demand that J (her boyfriend, no matter what he says) play the role of Joseph (and they do not “have love in the hay”, whatever the hell means – I really need to have a bit of a talk with her soon). And most of all, Jesus is not a Jedi, and the star is not Darth Vader following him around.
I’m all for contemporary interpretations of the Nativity, and I heartily approve of avant-garde theatre, but I’m not sure her school would.

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