One of the more progressive primary schools in the country says it now regrets its staging of ‘Nativity 2.0’, a modern take on the standard end-of-term nativity play, after the main characters’ use of modern technology undermined all the main elements of the traditional biblical story.
‘We wanted to produce a nativity that today’s parents and children could relate to,’ said Neil Thomas, headteacher at St Stephen’s primary school. ‘However, in hindsight we lost a lot of the drama the moment Mary and Joseph realised they could just submit their tax return online. After that most of the action took place in the couple’s front room as they sat at their laptops and updated their Facebook statuses. Still, everyone loved the Moira Stewart character, and her ‘tax doesn’t have to be taxing’ line really stole the show.’
Observers noted that the only dramatic tension in the play occurred when Mary and Joseph briefly had trouble registering with the Inland Revenue website after their broadband connection kept cutting out. ‘For a while it looked as if they would actually have to make the journey to the tax office,’ said one parent, ‘but when they started looking into accommodation and were told there was no room at the Premier Inn, Joseph simply did a quick web search for the nearest Travelodge. There was even some talk of them travelling by donkey, but Mary wouldn’t hear of it and booked a car online with Hertz using her smartphone.’
Later, after the birth of baby Jesus, instead of being visited by three wise men Mary and Joseph were doorstepped by three paparazzi who were guided to the newborn infant’s home not by a star, but by hacking into his parents’ voicemail. News of the birth was then publicised through a combination of intrusive tabloid sleaze stories and Tweets trending with the hashtags #virginbirth, #hotpregnanttaxpayers, and #iamthechosenone. The scriptwriters were careful, though, to prevent any opportunity for Joseph to Google the phrase ‘Virgin pregnant wife riding an ass’.
But despite the mixed reaction for the play, teachers and parents alike agreed that the birth scene was a success. ‘We were particularly proud of our updated concept of the manger,’ said the headteacher. ‘Having carefully considered modern alternatives to an inadequate, under-resourced facility with no competent medical staff to hand, we set the birth scene in a present-day NHS maternity ward.’