I feel well qualified to document the rules that govern every school play performed during the Christmas Term. I’ve now into double figures of watching the little cherubs fall over each other in a not terribly amusing manner. So here goes:
1/ Wherever you are sat, someone will apologetically wheeze in late encumbered by two screaming toddlers, and a babe in arms. The next hour will be spent receiving apologies, finger flung snot, sharp toys to tender parts, and endless screaming just below the pain threshold.
2/ On the other side, competitive dad will be extorting his little princess to barge her way past friends so he can take a better picture. The fact that we are some forty feet from the stage and his flash barely reflects the balding heads in the next row bothers him not at all. If you’re lucky a sticky sweet from the devil child next door will bypass your face, and instead attach itself limpet like to his lens.
3/ The X-Factor/Bone Idle/Who gives a fuck you can yodel in Yiddish TV shows have made this “me, me LOOK AT ME” so much worse.
4/ Hip flasks are not encouraged. And that’s probably right as some of these children are only five for heaven’s sake! And even if you water it down, it’s still a bit harsh for their little stomachs 😉
5/ You will leave the hall with a new and viscous airborne strain of something terminal. It is like being locked on the inside of a quarantine ward. Honestly they should give us all bells before we leave “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN” we could cry whilst expectorating a pint of phlegm.
6/ The air will be thick with moral messages parotted by kids who ignore them almost as often as their parents. But they’ll be encapsulated in nice songs, so that’s alright then.
7/ You will be ex-communicated from every future event if you fail to buy less than 20 raffle tickets at a quid each. Don’t harbour even the slightest expectation that a boozey prize may be your reward. Basically the whole thing is fixed by the PTA – only they have winning tickets, so recycling all the prizes from the Harvest Festival and trousering the difference.
8/ Some unlucky bastard always get dressed up as a donkey. He’s the poor sod who would hand over his own underpants just to be one of the sheep instead. For the next 5 years, he cannot pass another pupil without hearing the sound of braying.
9/ However many kids are on stage and regardless of the number of musical instruments being played, not one note will ever be in tune. Children can’t carry a tune, but they do have the vocal armoury to drag it behind the bike sheds, and give it a good kicking.
10/ The last song is always the most uplifting, and many people thing this is why it gets the greatest round of applause. Us old hands know the real reason is this is the clapping of the mightily relieved and soon to be released. Hence, when the kids start milking it, the hissing breaks out.
Here’s some advice. Go in with a lively smile and dead brain, and be happy if you can escape before inter class fighting breaks out. And if a stage frightened little girl implores you with teary eyes to give her the name of the messiah, the bringer of the light, the new hope, the Son of God, do not – WHATEVER THE TEMPTATION – offer up “Bwwyyyan“.
I mean sure it’s quite funny, but that child is going to be permanently traumatised. Honestly who’d stoop so low as to ruin the whole event just for a cheap laugh?