Sunday, December 16, 2007

Condiments of the Season!

Revision 3.

It’s often said that Christmas is only magical and exciting for children; this, in my opinion, is poppycock[1]. I think that the problem is that we grown-ups have simply forgotten many of the things which are fun about Christmas. Now, it’s fair to say that I speak as what Richard Dawkins might call a Cultural Christian . What I mean is that the celebration of Christmas is something I’m accustomed to, even though I’m far from being a regular church-goer (the folks down at the Nemeton would see it as a bit of a betrayal, I fear). There's something I enjoy, despite my curmudgeonly nature, about this excuse for a bit of indiscriminate and promiscuous bonhomie.

So, given that my attempt to get together a team of Ninja Morris Dancers has stalled due to the current weather being cold enough to freeze one’s bells off and, since it’s a traditional part of Christmas, I figured it would be a rather good idea to have a Nativity Play. In the Office.

Traditionally, the Nativity play performed in infants' (elementary) schools in the UK is a chance for parents to go and watch their offsprings' first tentative steps in the general direction of amateur dramatics. These days, though, its often an excuse for power crazed local councillors who've recently overdosed on political correctness to whine on about not offending other religions. Whoops - almost started on a rant there, not in the spirit of things at all. Ahem. So, yes, parents, first steps... well, in the office, there are one or two of us knocking on the door of forty, or perhaps even gazing wistfully back at it... Perhaps this is not so much a time to make Mum and Dad proud, but an opportunity, instead, to mortally embarrass our life-partners...

As I am a megalomaniac (though not yet a local councillor) I shall, of course, take it upon myself to arrange the casting. Lets start with the starring roles. (Note, with every major production, there is always a little re-casting. We shall be no different, and I may add players as I see fit.)

I'm prepared to bet that its generally easier to find a virgin in an Infants' school than at an office (even in the town in which I live, famous for its young mothers, there is a standard which at least lets the girls get to Junior school before procreation boosts their chances of a council flat). And, despite the classic example in Monty Python's Life of Brian, you cant exactly go round asking can you? So, we'll settle for Irony here and cast, in the role of Mary, a gentleman known in other blogs as 'the Lad'. He is the least likely of us to actively enjoy dressing up as a lady (sorry Rod) and, according to the stories with which he used to entertain us at lunchtime (when our local staff eaterie served food instead of the dried up 'poppycock' it currently pushes out), possibly the least virginal. So, the Lad gets to be Mary.

While on the subject of infants, we shall cast my good friend Andy as the Baby Jesus. This is because he (a) is good at making incoherent noises, (b) apparently sucks his thumb in times of stresss and (c) fits in the crib.

Joseph, in this context, is no more than a bit part. After all, his 'part' apparently didn't get to do its bit... This (as a sort of Homage to Andrew Lloyd Webber) will go to the person who can produce the most psychedelic anorak.

I seem to remember the involvement of a shepherd, and an angel in the story somewhere. The Angel clearly has to be the lady who makes the coffee without which we couldn't function in the morning, and the boss can be the shepherd (baaah baaah) for obvious reasons that if we don't all act like sheep, at least we can be servile curs...

Geography has never been my strong suit. In fact, during my O-Level exam, I wrote a good couple of pages to the examiner, apologising for wasting his time in forcing him to mark a paper for which I clearly should never have been entered. He must have appreciated the apology, I passed with a 'C'. Anyway, this means that the three wise men (or kings, the story varies) from the East will in fact hail from the valleys of Wales (some distance to the west of us here).

There's a reason for this, of course, in that the trio needs to be self evidently foreign, so the accent of the two genuine Welshmen in the office (Bus-boy and the tenth man) will do nicely. The quick amongst you will notice the mathematical discrepancy. Fear not, for I shall step into the breach. Ive always wanted to be regarded as a Wise Man and, despite my inability to stick to a single accent for more than ten words ,I do, bizarrely, enjoy pretending to be Welsh[2]. Well, due to the aforementioned linguistic drift, more of a sort of Pakistani from the Valleys.

The three wise men always bear gifts, and this occasion will be no let down on that score. The Welsh kings will bestow Goldie Lookin' Chains, Class-A Skunk and a four cans of Brains S.A. on the lucky infant.

Slightly off topic, but when was he ever on the same plane as the rest of us, we'd have to bring back - for one night only - the Podcaster - in the role of Christmas past...

Also not in the original score, as far as I know, are the bouncers. Saxman and Mr B can fill in here, because they are taller than everyone else. These are needed only for this particular play since I cant be bothered to think up any more clever castings, and have therefore consigned the rest of the staff to be sheep.

Someone's gonna have to keep the kings away from them...

Happy midwinter festival of your choice. Ho ho ho, have I got a surprise for you, small person[3]!

[1] An interesting word, actually a corruption of ‘Pappekak’ – which is Dutch for ‘soft dung’ rather than referring to, as I had suspected, the stamens of an opium-producing flower.

[2] If anyone can help cure me of this...

[3] If the punctuation zealot is tuned in here, I have to say in my defence that as the question is rhetorical, I felt I could get away with an exclamation mark.


Anonymous said...

Hang on, hang on. This is all very well but you're missing a key ingredient. Every play needs a star and, in the case of the Nativity, it's more than a little crucial.

I vote for a spot of recasting, "the boss" should be the star. It's very bright and everyone is following it but no one really understands why.

Pete Cogle said...

Let me know when the nativity is to be performed and I'll bring my mic along!

Probably the single most scary christmas ever recorded (bar the spice girls reunion!)

I'm sure the seasonally disaffected amongst you will be glad to know that this year's Crimbo special of PCP involves only 4 words from the "Ghost of Christmas Past"......

"Welcome to the Party Zone..."

I bid thee goodnight. Bah! Humbug!