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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Nativity Insensitivity

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I worked in a school today where I’ve worked quite a lot this year, mainly teaching drama to replace the music teacher.

It has been an experience teaching drama to Preps (under 6s in case you were wondering).

Today I was mandated to teach grade 3 and Prep and I manipulated my plan to encompass both age groups.

For the unfamiliar, teaching Preps is basically teaching illiterates… it’s a big bloody challenge.

Firstly, Preps can’t read.

Secondly, Preps only have the memory capacity of a scrub tick.

Thirdly, Preps cry a lot about pretty much nothing. Like even if they have a memory of a pet they never met that died, they just start with the old uncontrollable sobbing.

I’ll be like, “So Dusty was your parent's Blue Heeler that was put down because it savaged a sheep and died before you were born and you’re now crying?”

“Yes,” they sob. “But I still miss him. I lubbed him!”

My plan for the day was basically a shite load of warm up games and then a vastly modified re-enactment of the greatest story in history: The Nativity.
Well, it is nearly Christmas so I thought I was on theme.

When I arrived at sparrow’s fart, I scoured the music room for resources and discovered two moth eaten robes for Mary and Joseph, a star on a stick for the Angel (which I kept mistakenly referring to as “the fairy”) and an owl puppet wrapped in a purple veil which represented ”the baby Jesus’.

The problems which ensued were numerous.

The robes were far too long and the various six year old Marys kept catapulting into the Angel during the bit when she took offence at being informed she was ‘with child’. Mary consequently tripped, unceremoniously took down the various expensive guitars spaced out in the music room and landed splat down own her face and started... well... crying.

The response when the diminutive Joseph found out his betrothed was preggas with the Son of God was invariably a bit over the top for a six year old. 

He shouted, “Who’s the father then? Is it Colin from number 25? The bastard!”

I just made that up.

Or did I?

The amount of giggling over Mary as she was handed a purple veiled puppet owl in the guise of our Lord and Saviour took away from the credibility somewhat.

“Why is Jesus an owl?” they howled in laughter.

“It’s symbolic,” I countered. “Jesus was wise and so are owls!”

I don’t think they bought it. Even though Preps are clueless they can be quite canny.

I must comment that the fairy (I mean angel) who delivered the owl ( Baby Jesus) when Mary gave birth was a bit rough in her handling of the Son of God. 

Baby Jesus precariously dangled by one thumb and index finger and I thought the angel (fairy) might have been a bit more sensitive. 

I might add I didn’t encourage the re-enactment of labour pains or anything but I did expect a certain element of realism which was sadly lacking.

That’s just my review anyway.

I don’t think it would have passed muster at a BAFTA awards night anyway. But I still think I have a bit of a knack with children's theatre.

Any suggestions for improvement?