Christmas is round the corner and Sydney will soon be abuzz with Christmas parties and activities that celebrate the season and all that it stands for. In the midst of all the commercial mumbo jumbo, schools, theatre groups and street performers go into overdrive in an effort to stage spectacular performances that deliver a relevant Christmas message.
In this day and age where television, movies and video games rule the roost, theatrical entertainment is a refreshing change. Think about the past when none of these modern gadgets existed… theatre was one of the only forms of self-expression and entertainment. Commoners of yesteryear were illiterate and they looked at theatre not just as entertainment but also as a means of being educated about social issues, morals and values.
So, it’s not surprising that theatre and plays have a long-standing relevance in the celebration of Christmas, as they play a role in propagating the Christmas message to the modern world. The first ‘nativity scene’ had such a profound effect on the world that it is almost impossible to go through a Christmas season without seeing a portrayal of this scene in front of a church, in a Christmas play or on a mantle!
Shows performed during Christmas do not always depict the Christmas story, but weave messages of love, peace and joy into stories that show the struggle between good and evil, the triumph of good over evil or how love conquers all. Whether they are staged on the street, a school stage, an open-air theatre, a Christmas party cruise or even the Opera House, these Christmas plays and pantomimes have the power to shock and awe diverse audiences, whatever their background!
An aesthetically executed Christmas play or tableau, sifts through all the pretentiousness and commercialisation of the season to deliver a plain and simple message. Some are theatrical performances, some are musicals and some a combination of both – but they all serve to entertain in the process of imparting a message that will resonate in the minds of the audience for a long time to come!