15 November 2004
Everyone in my household is rehearsing for a nativity play. Except me – but then, I’m the wardrobe mistress.
Deminimus and Liability are in reassuringly traditional plays, where Deminimus has to wear a tea-towel and belt round his head and Liability is Mary, the role that will project her into the world of Britney Spears: it’s non-stop glitter on the shoulders and hair extensions from now on. When she puts the plastic doll down, of course.
Subjudice’s has an alarming take on the old story, based on Strictly Come Dancing as the only example of popular culture thought inoffensive to all major religions, where the three wise men are the judges and a selection of shepherds, animals and hangers-on demonstrate the Paso Doble and the Foxtrot in a rustic setting. I asked where Jesus was in all this and Subjudice said that they weren’t allowed to show baby Jesus in case it upset people – and anyway, who would take a baby to a dancehall?
But the most disturbing one is the Lawyer’s. The office head, brought up on cold showers and insane communal activities at one of our finest boarding schools, is very keen to make the Christmas office production a bonding session that will, in the true spirit of the season, allow rich to mix with poor. Therefore he is taking the part of the Angel Gabriel while his secretary is playing the part of the innkeeper’s wife, and she is constantly having to put her broom down and whip out her shorthand notepad during rehearsals as new plotlines occur to him.
The action centres on the Magic Circle Inn, where everyone wants to be, including the provincial lawyers Mary and Joseph (she’s in family law, he’s in construction) who have come for interview. Alas, although very competent, Mary and Joseph just aren’t the right sort of people for the Magic Circle Inn, and Mary is clearly pregnant, which is a real no-no for a top-flight career. They have to set up their own practice in the converted stable block next door.
Along come three wise practice heads, who are looking to boost their flagging profits and will do anything to merge with the Magic Circle Inn, including bringing lavish gifts. They’ve already had one disappointing meeting with Herod Associates, and how disappointed they are now to find that their destination is the lowly stable block next door to the Magic Circle Inn. However, they soon realise that Away & Amanger is a good little outfit and worth paying attention to.
Then the headhunter Angel Gabriel arranges an evening meeting with some associates who are just marking time in their current job and sends them along to help boost the growing practice. Pretty soon the stable block is ablaze with light, as clients flock from miles around to these bright young lawyers who make miracles happen and still do worthy pro bono work…
“Excuse me,” I interrupted, because the Lawyer can go on. “What’s your role?”
“Innkeeper,” said the Lawyer. “I’m head of a magic circle firm at last.”
“And baby Jesus?” asked Liability bossily, banging her plastic doll on the table.
“Well, I think the Angel Gabriel was rather hoping we wouldn’t pay too much attention to that sort of thing,” said the Lawyer.
“I shouldn’t worry,” I said. “I should think Jesus is doing what he usually does – he’s the flame of hope that, even if you’re practising in a stable with a load of donkeys, there’s a better life waiting for you.”
“At the Magic Circle Inn, hopefully,” said the Lawyer.
“God bless us everyone,” said Deminimus.
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