Dylan took part in his first nativity the other day. As a staunch atheist, I had mixed feelings about it at first. It felt a little awkward but I was soon really looking forward to it.
I know I was silly to fret about it; of course there wasn’t a hidden religious agenda to deprive him of the right to choice. As I’ve written about before, indoctrination makes my blood boil. In my defence, we get a lot of people trying to push various faiths down our throats on our own doorstep – and it’s not just the JWs either.
So I do have a bit of a suspicious mind when it comes to things like this. But anyway, this isn’t about how people persuade others to find faith. It’s about my boy’s acting debut!
He was due to play one of the three kings and had been talking about it a lot. His teachers told us that he’d been excellent in the practice runs they’d done and that he was taking his role very seriously.
This was obviously down to the fact that I taught him the Stanislavski method and that he was drawing from extensive personal experience to add complexity to his character.
And it seems that he was embracing the method acting and getting properly into character. The other night, after he’d done his King Lear routine of yelling at everything that wasn’t to his liking and needed calming down a little, he asked me to tell him a story.
He didn’t really deserve one as he’d been really badly behaved, but I saw it as an opportunity to get him to nod off so that we would only have one sleep-resistant little monster – aka Xander – to deal with. So I launched into an autobiographical one, as he likes those. Here’s how it went:
Me: “Once upon a time, there was a little boy called Tom. He grew up and became a man called Tom and met a lady called Kate. They fell in love, got married and had a baby. Do you know what the baby was called?”
Me: “Erm, no. He was called Dylan”
Dylan: “No, Daddy. He WAS called Jesus.”
That told me! So on to the actual performance and he was a proper little star. He did seem a little preoccupied with ensuring his crown was still on his head and was a little selective with which songs he joined in with – in fact, he seemed to snub anything remotely religious, oddly enough – but belted out the others with great gusto. He won’t need help with voice projection in future and his rendition of ‘When Santa got stuck up the chimney’ was haunting.
Afterwards, he toddled over to us. “You were brilliant, Dylan!” I said. “Yes, Daddy. I was,” he said with a rather smug grin. Yes, he’s modest too, but that’s surely a good quality in a king!