There are two great forms of entertainment at Christmas time. There is the Nativity play. And there is the pantomime. And every year I dream of becoming the first person in history to achieve the fusion of the two, into a fabulous piece of theatre called Jesus - The Panto!
It should not be too difficult. There are elements of the Christmas story in some pantomimes already. The relationship between the resourceful Aladdin and the put-upon Widow Twankey seems to have echoes of Jesus and mother Mary. I can easily visualise the Blessed Virgin Mary entering stage right and shouting: "Jesus! Jesus! Where is that dratted lad? Ooh, just wait till I get my hands on him ...!"
There are problems, of course. Some spoilsports will cry blasphemy. Others will say that pantomimes should always be about fictional characters. Backers will get nervous and withdraw their money. But I think the great project is worth pursuing, and I am bringing you a small sample of my script-in-progress today ...
Jesus - The Panto!
The scene is a carpenter's shop. Joseph, the carpenter, is making a small sideboard.
Joseph: What a waste of time, making a sideboard. Sits in the corner of the living room all year long, being ignored. Once a year, the relatives come round and you put a bottle of sherry on it. And that's it! What I should be making is the Ark of God. Something to put the Ten Commandments in. That's what I call a proper job ...
Enter the village children, who dance round Joseph as he works, singing...
See old Joseph make a table
Going as fast as he is able
It will take him a year or more
Then he can't get it through the door!
I wouldn't buy my furniture here
I'd always get it from Ikea!
Joseph: Buzz off, you dratted children! Go on, make yourself scarce!
The children buzz off. As they leave, a stranger enters the shop. It is an angel.
Joseph: That's me, squire. How can I help you?
Angel: I have come to give your wife Mary a message.
Joseph: She's not here. She's at the shops. Tell me the message and I'll pass it on.
Angel: Well, I am really meant to give it to her personally. It's a message from God.
Joseph: From God, eh? Don't tell me he wants a sideboard too ...
Angel: God has no need of furniture. He never sleeps, he never sits, and never eats. Why would he need furniture?
Joseph: Blimey. I never thought of that. Doesn't look like I'll be doing business with God, then.
Angel: I wouldn't be too sure of that. You might be doing some baby-sitting ...
Joseph: Look, you said you had a message for Mary. We have no secrets from each other. Why not tell it me now?
Angel: OK. You are going to have a baby, and God is going to be the father.
Joseph: I am?
Angel: No. Mary is.
Joseph: Mary is?
Joseph: The sly little thing ... Just a moment!
Joseph: Did you say that God is going to be the father?
Joseph: Why on earth would God want to have a child?
Angel: I don't know. I just deliver messages. I don't make policy.
Joseph: Look, be an angel ...
Joseph: Just buzz off, would you? The angel vanishes. Loony! They should lock them up ...
Hmmm. Well, it's not quite there yet, but it's never too early for wealthy backers to get in touch with me and pump some funds in ...Reuse content