Do Shy Kids Ruin Nativity Plays?
Filed under: Opinions
My response to that is, well, what's NOT to be ruined about nativity plays? I can't stand them, myself, and I was raised Catholic (so you'd think I'd be all about them). I probably feel this way because as a child in Catholic school I was relegated to being some random shepherd when I wanted, naturally, to be Mary. All the girls did, and all the boys wanted to be Joseph, or, in some cases, the baby Jesus. Instead our creative teachers decided that the non-star children would be the shepherds and all the animals in the barn. Sigh. At least I got to be a shepherd! the fear was that the shy kids would ruin the play. But, I ask, how can you ruin something that is acted out in entirety by children? this is not to mention that the nativity story is a great one--one of the greatest--so it's rather hard to ruin anyway. Still, the teachers had that fear.
This business went on every year when it seemed like some kid who was no more special than the rest of us got to be Mary. It was annoying to all of us, but, I'd wager, like the mothers in this article, there were some kids who although they complained about being sheep would have been about as capable as an actual sheep of making their way through Mary's lines. Some kids really are shy, so perhaps they belong in the shepherd and sheep costumes. That said, I went to theatre school and, I gotta tell ya, there really are no "good" child actors out there. With the possible exception of Shirley Temple (who to many was just plain annoying), most child actors are tolerable at best. Sure they can memorize the words and walk to their mark on the stage, but most parents are just happy to see their kid getting out there and doing something fun rather than pretending their baby is going to make it on American Idol after the secret talent agents at the church discover them.
And, let's not forget one major thing--nativity plays are really about Jesus, not children and their acting coaches. Nativity plays are about miracles and magic. And, in that respect, all children involved in a nativity play are just as important and essential to telling the story, and sharing that magic. I'll always remember that scene from the book, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" when the narrator's friend gets to be Mary instead of her, and wears Vaseline on her eyelids to make the audience notice her and her beauty. The nativity, even for those parents who dread sitting through yet another one, is not about one child (well, except Jesus) but about all children, and the miracle of them being born, right?