Dom Joly: My daughter played a tree, but she was really wooden

Share
Related Topics

I've been sitting at home, desperately trying to polish off the rough script for my upcoming UK tour. It's got to the stage where I really can't do much more until I give it a trial run in this week's London warm-up. I really needed to think about something else for a while.

This was how I got roped into going to see my daughter in her school play. It would definitely earn me some brownie points and Stacey thought that it might give me some inspiration. I wasn't convinced that this would be the case, but what could be better than to go and see a school production and cheer on my offspring?

Well, to be honest, quite a lot. For starters, I really loathe theatre, especially musical theatre, even if my little girl is in the production. To make matters worse, something seems to have happened to school plays. In the old days, I'm sure they were, usually, crowd-pleasers – amateur recreations of popular hits. I was in Huis Clos by Sartre ("L'enfer, c'est les autres..." how true that is), The Strong Are Lonely (something about Jesuits in Paraguay) and Oh! What a Lovely War (musical protest about the First World War – we were so of our time). OK, looking back, I have to admit that some of mine were a bit worthy even though they dealt with issues that probably mattered more to Victorians than us. We did have some fluff, however: I was in Pygmalion and did something in The Pirates of Penzance.

Nowadays, schools seem to receive play "kits" which come with costumes, ideas for sets, generous roles for nearly everybody (all must have prizes) and... a message. My daughter's play was the moving story of the Amazonian rainforest, so full of delightful creatures. My daughter played the role of a tree. I told her afterwards that her performance was very wooden and she took it totally the wrong way.

Anyway, in the first half we met all the delightful singing animals that lived in this prelapsarian paradise. Then we met all the wonderful natives who spent their time covered in beads, weaving straw baskets and hunting with bows but no arrows. Things were fine, and everyone was very keen to sing and tell you how brilliant everything was.

Suddenly, an evil politician arrived. We knew he was evil because he smoked a cigar and evil people smoke cigars. The evil cigar-smoker started throwing money at the lovely natives and talking in some detail about IMF grants. Now, I've sat through a revolutionary opera in Pyongyang, and even that wasn't as unsubtle as this. But we weren't finished.

Next came the loggers, who set fire to everything so that a man dressed as a Texas cowboy (and smoking a cigar, obviously) could allow his cows to roam the burnt wastelands. The whole show ended with all the rainforest animals being burnt to death and screaming. I watched helplessly as my daughter, the tree, went up in flames.

I was so traumatised by the whole thing that I had to consume two bottles of wine afterwards. This, in combination with my broken foot, made for a messy end to the evening and I will probably not be voted on to the PTA next year, much to my chagrin.

The whole thing was very peculiar, and there is, apparently, more to come. It turns out that the next two school productions have also gone for "controversial" subjects. The first, in which my son plays a traumatised penguin, tells the story of the melting polar ice-caps. The production I'm really looking forward to, however, is the one they are putting on at the end of the year about Hiroshima. It should be a real blast.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders joins the Latitude 2014 line-up  

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde - please don't tell other victims it was theirs

Holly Baxter
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory