Monday, December 18, 2006
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The parents have been in line for hours to get into the annual Christmas Show at St. Joseph's (the little Catholic School down the street, where my daughter bravely attends pre-K). Due to my competitive nature, I strongly considered arriving 3 hours early, camping chair, ipod and book in hand, to beat out as many parents as I could for the front row seat. But that did not sound like much fun.
Instead I decided to arrive about 25 minutes before it would begin, and take my chances. I follow directions very well. DROP OFF YOUR CHILD IN THE SCHOOL YARD AT 2:30. I dropped her off, and then I had a decision to make. I didn't know which way the line snaked around the block. Should I turn right, and assume the line floats up north and around, or go left and assume it snakes around to the front of the church. I went left, and then left again, and there was the end of the line, snaking around the corner and ending in front of the steps of the church. Wow, I was NOT close to the entrance at all. I was ok with it though.
My husband caught up with me right in the middle of Harry Connick Jr.'s Drummer Boy, and my music-listening was over. We chatted about our new condominium, and eventually made it through the doors of the school. The ENTIRE gym was packed with parents, and we heard a rumor there was a balcony, so we headed up there. We got third row balcony, just to the left of the obstructing basketball hoop. It got hot up there very quickly.
Then it began. The fifth graders acted out the Nativity Story. I have to say, in all my days attending plays of actors in a variety of levels, abilities, and ages, this was unique. It was so uniformly unique, I knew that these kids had been directed to do what they did. I hope that I can put it into words, because it was something else. I imagine the teacher gave this direction:
"Here are the rules of the play:
1. Whenever you say the word 'you', point directly out to the audience (even if YOU is a sheperd or an angel or Mary).
2. Whenever you say the word 'I' or 'me,' point with both hands, to your own shoulders.
3. Try to say your lines as much like a cheerleader as possible. Take breaks between words for emphasis, even though there is no punctuation that would indicate such.
4. Also, like a cheerleader, please nod your head for emphasis, especially when uttering the word Jesus.
5. When you travel from stage left to stage right, you may not counter or three-quarter turn, you may not put your back to the audience at any time. I would like you Mary and Joseph, to hold hands, and sort of chasse' back and forth when going from inn to inn.
6. In some plays the actors are taught to project, we just want you guys to yell as many of the lines as possible.
7. When you have a line, please wait until the person ahead of you has walked ALL THE WAY BACK TO HIS POSITION ON THE STAGE, before you even think about taking a step from your position ALL THE WAY OVER TO THE MICROPHONE to say your line.
8. If people applaud, just ignore it and keep saying your line anyway.
9. Half of you kneel on the risers for the entire 20 minute skit, and if you feel like you might faint for lack of blood flow, just pray that your line is coming up soon so that you can stand up and stretch for a second."
Hilarious right? This whole new style just kept me very entertained...so maybe I will take these techniques and file them away for future use!
Some of my favorite parts about the Christmas show are as follows:
Costumes: there were little angels, lambs, Santas, snowmen, reindeer, silver bells, shepherds, and my favorite, one lone eighth grader as the CHRISTMAS TREE during the song: Rockin' around the Christmas tree.
The 3rd graders did a really adorable dance with girls in christmas nightgowns dancing with Santa to the tune I WANT CANDY, but the lyrics: I WANT SANTA.
I really enjoyed the second graders chanting: Who let the ELVES out? WHo, who who who....
And of course I was oh-so-proud of my little pre-K girl who was front row center, singing and poeming her little heart out, and ringing her jingle bells at JUST the right time. It's moments like those that I need to hang onto when I am having a bad mom day.
All in all, it was a great experience, and I get to do it all over again tonight. Lucky me.