Well it’s that time of the year again, the kids are back at school after Autumn Half Term and already the buzz of the impending Christmas play has begun!
Which play will be chosen? Those of us who have an older child, who went to the same school, will be more than familiar with the repetitive loop of plays that do the rounds every 3-4 years! We even remember some of the songs and still have the costumes in a dusty box somewhere amongst the Halloween decs , baby clothes and ‘car boot sale’ stuff that’s never been near a boot!
Rumours of the specific roles up for grab, solo singing slots and the auditioning process is rife throughout the playground and in fact I think is healthy competitiveness. In today’s world where school life seems devoid of anything involving competition, it’s rather nice to see the most confident, talented kids thrive! After all that is what ‘real life’ is actually about isn’t it? And besides who really wants to watch a performance where the script is re-written so every child has a speaking part in the interest of fairness, regardless of whether they want it or not? !
Don’t get me wrong, I whole heatedly believe all children need encouragement, respect, opportunity and kindness to help them develop and achieved…I just seriously don’t want to spend 2 hours out of my evening watching other peoples lame kids literally ‘die’ on stage! Then feel immense guilt whilst clapping enthusiastically and discussing how ‘marvellous’ the performance was with other parents, when in reality I’d lost the plot, couldn’t help thinking how rubbish some kids costumes were and wishing I was across the road in the pub!
I’m convinced more parents feel the same? Come on you do don’t you? But in a world where I feel so many of us are restricted to saying only what we think our children or other people want to hear, surely this leads to disalusional kids and adults? I can only stress how important it is to be a fair and honest parent…and if your child has a dream that’s totally unrealistic, for gods sake don’t encourage them with false hope, sack it off, tell them it’s not for them and gently guide them in another direction!
Sadly the school Christmas play is the perfect environment for pushy parents to have ‘a quick word’ with the teacher, to try and guarantee their child has the lead role! Your child may be a great singer but if they’re on the ugly side then please don’t subject the rest of us to having to watch their solo spot! I’m not wholly convinced our teachers of today (most of whom happen to look about 19) are entirely equipped to deal with this monster, mutant breed of parent? I can only hope they are actually more savvy than they look!
So as I write this I understand my youngest daughter, who is 9, is at school beginning the whole play process…. Who gets what role, who wears what, who forgets their lines I really truly couldn’t give two hoots…after all, my precious girl was Mary in her very first school nativity play…now you can’t ever top that as a parent can you;)
Hmm and then there's the play itself and all that entails, now costumes there's a thing... so your childs landed their dream (or not so dreamy) role, has been handed a script and told to get a costume for their appearance as a christmassy one legged sewer rat with a wig and false arm who is aparantly santa's right hand man. ..So now the fun starts in earnest, if you're like me when it comes to costume design you have two options...
a) go and buy one from the local fancy dress shop / trawl the internet for an e-bay classic / find an obscure online shop
b) try to make it yourself..
b) try to make it yourself..
Now the second option may be cheaper and ok when you're child's at pre-school, I distinctly remember creating a christmas tree outfit with green felt, baubles and tinsel all held together with sellotape) ... which promptly disintegrated as she made her way onto the stage .. leaving her looking like the carpet under my tree and left in a heap after being tripped by falling tinsel !! ...However, for a savvy 9yr old you're gonna struggle to make DIY costomes fly...unless of course you are the one child with that grandma, you know that child... the one who's hand made costume would grace the stage... and the one that makes your vein attempt at sewing look even more poor than it actually is !! So what we end up with is like a scene from the village people.. with children in drag, costumes impossible to decypher, hats over eys and parents pretending their child is not there own....
So after the trauma with the costume and in spite of all your efforts, the pain doesn't stop there ...in order to actually get to see the play you have to play the parents favourite game... 'ticket roulette'... for those that don't know this is kind of a game where there can be no winners... oh apart from those sneaky parents who entrap the school into the annual guilt trip... 'I do help out with Timothy's reading, oh and my long lost aunt is coming..' or 'yes I once helped out on a stall at the xmas fayre for 20 mins' ...so of course I need 40 tickets for each performance... for the rest of us mere mortals it's grab what you can get and take your chances... so having been forced to go to the extreme of purchasing a ticket on line to ensure entrance, you set off, ticket in hand and performance pending.. you make your way to the school in 25 mins before time... only to be shocked that 600 elderly relatives have beaten you to it... in a scene like something from wimbledon way, on the eve of open Saturday, or a annual outing of Saga, the site of tents, themos flasks and false teeth that greets you is a sight to break your will.. and then finally with seconds to spare you make your way into a packed hall and prise yourself into a chair built for midget, knees tucked under your chin you settle to enjoy the show...trying to see your child through the rows of grandma hats, grandads beta max video recorder and that really tall bloke who always seems to sit in front of your child.. ..
ah well at least there's always the official video ...pah.. don't even get me started on that !!!!
... roll on sports day !!!