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27th Nov 2015

8 ways the nativity play posed more questions than it answered

National school was a confusing time for all of us.

What exactly was the point of the news and weather portion of the day? Did they really believe that we were sleeping when we’d téigh a chodladh? Why were they so stingy with the toilet paper at leithris time? Two sheets per person in Our Lady of Mercy School – it was barbaric, you actually had to announce to everyone if it was a number two just to get a bit more toilet paper out of them.

Around Christmas time, things generally took a turn for the even more bizarre and baffling with the yearly nativity play. Here’re 8 ways the nativity play posed more questions than it answered.

Isn’t immaculate conception kind of a contradiction in terms?

Bible or no bible, this has definitely NEVER happened, even at six I was deeply sceptical on this one.


What’s the deal with tea towels on heads? Is it borderline racist? Who knows?

What WAS that all about??? And always tied down with one of dad’s silk ties, with absolutely no thought to authenticity or accuracy of period detail about the thing.

Why was the church/school hall always kept just a couple of degrees above ABSOLUTELY BALTIC?

My theory: To keep the audience of enchanted parents and irate older siblings from passing out from over-heating and boredom.


Why were the tinsel halos so goddamn itchy?

It was like a hair shirt for our foreheads… I suppose perhaps it was supposed to be a form of penance.

What about the year Ms. O’Hara directed her passion project the avant-garde Nativity Play?

Now and then an ambitious, renegade new teacher would get notions about switching up the traditional Nativity format much to Sister Eileen’s chagrin. That was the year they decided that we would do a reworking of the script and tell the whole thing from the perspective of Donkey the bedraggled beast forced to carry Fat Mary all the way to Bethlehem before then practically assisting at the birth.

Why is there a Transformer at the birth of Christ???

The class was big; there was only so many shepherds, apparently.


Why was the girl who played the Virgin Mary always the prettiest ergo most hated girl in the class?

Apologies if you played the big VM in your nativity play but c’mon we all noticed what a beauty pageant the whole thing was. Keeping the chunky nine-year-olds with the heavy brows playing inanimate objects like hay bales and parts of the set was not very Christian surely?


How did nearly always someone need to wee at the crucial moment?

There was always suspicious puddles around backstage – it was either very weak orange squash or some ‘angel’ from senior infants had just weed again. So unprofessional.