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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Unwise casting, obviously

This is a season of joy.

But for some, it is also a time of regret.

Yes, those who never got to be in a children’s Christmas pageant can find themselves muttering decades later.

“I could have been a terrific Joseph. I was perfect for the role.”

And some who actually were in Christmas plays are still bitter about casting decisions.

“I would have been a heckuva wise man. But no, Mrs. McKorkindale had me play a sheep. A sheep! I could have electrified that production with the way I held my myrrh. But no, I was stuck with going ‘Baaaaaaaaa.’ ”

It’s worth noting, however, that kids who played supporting roles have been known to exaggerate the centrality of their characters.

“So it was a typical Nativity thing?”

“Actually, our production seemed to focus on one little angel. I don’t think that’s how it was written. I guess I just had charisma. The critics said I didn’t need my wings to soar.”

“Critics?”

“Well, my mom.”

Who knows how many budding acting careers were stymied by a heartless director who decided that a youth born to play the innkeeper should instead be an ox.

Of course, there’s nothing quite like the angst of those who feel they should have played either the baby Jesus or the Virgin Mary – or the regrets of those who did play one of those roles but now believe they could have brought more to their performances.

“Looking back, I have to say I would have been great as the holy babe in swaddling. I could have projected something sublime. I had this thing I did with my hand, sort of a Roman emperor riff, that would have brought the house down.”

Anyway, if you wonder where Christmas pageant stage parents come from, you needn’t look any further than the childhoods of certain moms and dads.

“Uh, Mrs. McKorkindale, could I have a word? I see that you want my Madison to play Mary as modest and demure. Fine. Classic reading. That’s how I played her, to considerable acclaim, in 1991. But I wonder if a few Beyoncé moves might rock that manger into something the audience would adore. Am I wrong?”

Today’s Slice question: Were you ever in a Christmas play?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. At one Spokane church, there was always a debate about whether to go with a doll to play Jesus or opt for a “live baby.”

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