Wednesday, 18 July 2007

'Daddy! It's my birthday!'

Thursday, 12th July 2007

‘Daddy! It’s my birthday! I’m five! I’m not a shrimp any more!’ The excitement in her voice was palpable. Louisa Mary Lucia comes of age. There is only one child left in her class now who is still only four years old. She is officially no longer a Shrimp. It could not have been a nicer way to have been woken up on my youngest’s fifth birthday.

Her older siblings had not shown similar emotion at this rite of passage. I could not let her down by feeling sad at her growing up. She will always be my youngest, after all. In my mind, at least. I lay in bed, smiling to myself, listening to the exchange between father and daughter. ‘I hear you had a birthday treat last night?’ says N (who had been away). ‘Yes. It was really borwing.’ (She’s never been one to mince her words.) Indeed, it was a mistake. A friend who was appearing in the Buxton Festival (a summer season of special one-off performances, speakers, operas and fringe shows) told me enthusiastically ‘Oh, you MUST come and see me. It’s a musical, based on a bible story [Joseph sprang to mind]. There are lots of children. The girls will LOVE it.’ So, suitably enthused, and thinking this would be a lovely birthday treat for Louisa, I book tickets. We invite another 5 year old. A new friend. The excitement mounts. They skip along the pavement and into the Church where the performance is being staged. We are too late, all the seats are taken downstairs. We go up to the gallery. Again, all front row seats taken. At three foot tall, they cannot see a thing. We ask a kindly couple if they could squeeze in next to them at the front. I sit on a different row. The ‘show’ starts. Oh dear. All discordance and symbolism. Oh look, there’s our friend. Wearing the orange skirt. Dressed as a peasant. What’s going on? Who’s he? Is that Tobias? Is that the Angel? And who’s the scary man in red caressing a young lady’s bosom. I glance nervously across at the little heads. Backs straight as rods, they do not flinch. The show goes on. It gets no clearer. I notice the girls shifting. L gets up, squeezes past knees, up the aisle, past more knees and across to me. ‘I’m borwed!’ Her little friend follows, sniffing noisily. ‘I’m thirsty!’

Somehow, we got through it. I didn’t understand a thing. Not much hope, then, for a 5 year old. I worried they’d have nightmares with the scary man and the discordant notes. Remarkably, they seemed unbothered. It was an excellent performance, fantastic vocals. But can anyone tell me what ‘Tobias and the Angel’ is actually all about?! I need to try and explain it to a couple of 5 year olds I know…

We went to the park and played on the swings. They enjoyed that. And so did I.


FunkyMunky said...

Sorry, can't help you - I've never heard of it. Don't think I'll be going out of my way to seek it out either going by your description - which was hilarious by the way!!

I hope Louisa has a lovely birthday. My daughter turned 3 just over a month ago, and I'm already worried that she's growing up too fast! Where on earth does the time go??

countrymousie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
countrymousie said...

Give me the swings any day of the week - great blog though. Love her choice of words. Great

PS It was me deleted above - made stupid spelling mistake which I didnt spot in time - sorry.

Cait O'Connor said...

I've heard of Tobias and the Angel but don't know the story. Hope Louisa has a great day. My youngest granddaughter is six on Friday, it's a lovely age isn't it 5 or 6. Still innocent.
Love the word borwing.

Blossomcottage said...

I am afraid that its one of those plays that every one says "Oh its wonderful" and nobody admits to not understanding it!! or thats how I see it. Well Done for making it to the end. below is the story, I don't think it makes any more sense written down!!
‘Tobias and the Angel’
In Nineveh, Tobit, a good man, defies the law and buries the body of one of his fellow Jews who has been killed on the orders of the king. His wife, Anna, is afraid but his son, Tobias, helps him.

Polluted by the burial, they sleep outside. Tobias joins villagers in a dance. He meets a Stranger who tells him to 'listen for the silence in the song'. Tobias prefers dancing. In the morning, when Tobit wakes, birds defecate in his eyes and he becomes blind.

On the same morning, in far away Ecbatana, Sara wakes to find that her newly married husband is dead, murdered by an evil spirit, Ashmodeus, who is in love with her. This is the seventh time this has happened. Sara's father, Raguel, instructs his servants to bury the body secretly.

Tobit and Sara both pray for help.

Unable to earn a living, Tobit sends Tobias to Ecbatana to reclaim a debt from his cousin Raguel. The Stranger goes with him.

On the journey, the Stranger encourages Tobias to listen to the songs sung by the trees, the mountain and a river. Tobias can't hear them. He falls into the river and is almost devoured by a giant fish whose song he is also unable to hear. He kills the fish. The Stranger tells him to cut out its heart and gall.

They arrive in Ecbatana. Raguel, unwilling to repay the debt, hatches a plot to get Tobias to become Sara's eighth husband, hoping that the evil spirit will kill him too. When Tobias sees Sara he at once 'hears' the song of her beauty and they are married. On their wedding night, Tobias is unable to hear the 'song' of the evil spirit but, just in time, the Stranger advises him to throw the fish's heart onto the fire in their bedroom. The spirit is exorcised: Sara at last is free. Raguel is still reluctant to hand over the money he owes, but Sara persuades him.

On the journey back Tobias and Sara hear the songs of the river, the mountain and the trees.

At home, the Stranger tells Tobias to apply the fish's gall to his father's eyes. Tobit's sight is restored. They offer to pay the Stranger all the money in return for his help, but he reveals himself to be the angel Raphael, who has descended to earth to answer Tobit's and Sara's prayers. He returns to heaven.

Anonymous said...

glad your back wish happy birthday louisa xxjep

bodran... said...

Well that explains that thank you blossom xx the swings sounds betterxo

Anonymous said...

Blimey Blossom, you didn't sit at the back in class! Unlike me!

I think I would have enjoyed the park much more actually.

Crystal xx

Suffolkmum said...

Happy birthday Louisa! She sounds enchanting. Good to see you blogging again. Sounds like the swings would have won it hands down for me too, but I agree it sounded like the sort of thing that could have been great. Blimey Blossom!


Blossom you beat me to it.. if you look it up in the Jerusalem bible its qute well written, teh c of E bibles oftern elave it out, I susepct girls called Sarah murdering seven husbands was not a good sotry to tell teh masses, do not want to give them girls ideas!! So sorry birthday girl got stuck with Tobius, hope it does not ruin her love of live theatre!!

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