This is a transcript of the audio recording made for our “Twelve Days” Christmas project. If you found it by chance and would like to hear the script performed rather than read it please click HERE.
A primary school reception class in the early to mid-sixties. Some have noted that the teacher, Miss Eels, bears a remarkable resemblance to the great Joyce Grenfell…
Now, children, do, please, settle down. You’ve had a lovely break and a jolly good gallop but playtime is over now. Stop making that silly noise, William – and what on earth are you doing with your milk? Yes, I can hear you are blowing bubbles and so can the rest of the class – stop laughing children, William is being very silly – but you were supposed to finish your milk before break. Now go and put the bottle back in the crate before Mr Stimpson notices it’s missing. He gets very upset if they’re not all accounted for by lunchtime. Very upset. No, you can’t finish it up quickly and yes life is very unfair. Well you will know better tomorrow and finish in good time. Now hurry up and no dilly-dallying in the hall.
Now, children; oh yes, some very exciting news: today is the day we start planning our nativity. Yes it is very exciting, Rosie, but please don’t do that. Because it distracts the others. No, they don’t want to join in. No children you don’t want to join in. Charles, you especially do not want to join in – you got a splinter last time and had to see matron – so all of you, stop fidgeting, sit still and calm down. Thank you. That’s better.
Now, today we are going to be planning our nativity play. Rosie… … And we’re going to need some angels and some wise men and some shepherds and a Mary and Joseph and… No, we don’t need a little baby Jesus, Simon, we use a dolly for little baby Jesus. Because Mary has to carry little baby Jesus and you’re all too heavy for Mary to carry and too big to fit in the manger. Yes, even Lewis, Simon – he’s much too big to fit in the manger, even if he is small for his age. No, don’t do that Lewis, I’m sure Simon didn’t mean to be rude. And where did you get the pencil? They’re supposed to be handed in after sums? Well don’t bring them from home – especially if you’re going to use them to poke Simon. Simon: Stop it.
So, who would like to be an angel? Well you can’t all be angels – we won’t have any shepherds. Who wants to be a shepherd? All of you? I thought you all wanted to be angels. Well let’s start with sheep – everything starts somewhere and sheep are as good a starting point as any, I suppose. So who wants to be a sheep? Now you’re just being silly. You can’t all be sheep. What kind of a nativity play would it be if you were all sheep? Well, yes, William, I’m sure it would be a jolly funny one, but I don’t think your mummies and daddies would find it very jolly do you? They’ll be looking forward to it, and the last thing they’ll want to see is a stage full of sheep prancing around. Yes, I know Katie lives on a farm, William, but I’m sure even her parents don’t want to see a nativity play about sheep.
Don’t do that Georgina. No don’t.
Alright children, I think we’re going to have to try this a different way, don’t you? I want you all to line up in your pairs as if we were going swimming. No, we’re not going swimming, Rosie, we’re just lining up. So we can pick some roles for the nativity. No, swimming is on Wednesday and today is Tuesday. Yes, you will still be going swimming tomorrow. No, not you Lewis – we all know about your verruca. Yes, you can watch from the balcony with Miss Joliffe like last week. But perhaps from a little further back. Spitting is jolly unpleasant, and I hope you’ve learned your lesson after your chat with Mrs Grainger.
Now, that’s it, nicely in line. No you don’t need to hold hands. Well you can hold hands if you want to then. No William, you can’t hold hands with Rosie. Because she’s not your walking partner. And she doesn’t want to. Well it doesn’t matter if you want to, Rosie, you can’t. No, life isn’t very fair, is it?
So, three wise men: Lewis, Robert and Thomas. Because they’re at the front of the queue and they’re boys. Yes, the three wise men do have to be boys, Georgina, and we don’t have much choice in that, but the shepherds can be shepherdesses to even it out. And don’t do that…
Our Shepherdesses then: Katie, Rosie and Sue. Because they’re at the front. Yes it is nice that Katie gets to be a shepherdess and her daddy will be pleased. We’ll sort out the angels at the end because I’m not quite sure how many we will need. No, David, you can’t be a devil – there are no devils in the bible. Well, not in this bit anyway.
So, Jacob and Mary: we need a boy and a girl who are extra good at learning lines, because Mary and Joseph have the most to say. No, Simon, I don’t think Arthur will want to be Joseph, will you Arthur? No. I thought not. No, that’s not because of his stu… his speech dysfluency, Simon. That’s not a kind thing to say. Some people just prefer not being centre stage all of the time. I think Arthur would make an absolutely lovely angel when we get to them, and I think you would make a rather fine donkey, Simon: I heard you braying when we sang Old McDonald in assembly last week and you we’re very good.
Now, Joseph and Mary… Oh dear… I see it’s almost time for Music and Movement, so perhaps we’ll have to continue casting this afternoon. All back to your places, children, while Miss Joliffe tunes the radio…
Written by David Smith. Performed by Peppy Scott for Tunbridge Wells Writers, and The Gluten-Free trio.