It does feel somewhat strange saying this with the fan on, sweating in the heat here in Brisbane, Australia, but it is Christmas time nevertheless. And that means Christmas carols.
A number of years ago my siblings and I stood, cocooned in jackets and scarves, in a packed pew at a local carol service. We warbled away with gusto ever aiming for the high notes – usually missing them – and then we spotted it: a simple typo on the carol song sheet that resulted in much mirth amongst us. 'Hark the herald angels sin' was probably not what the Almighty had in mind by way of celebrating his birthday. And so an alternate story existed: wild angels taking the day off and making merry in their festive woolly jumpers.
This year, I've written a series of alternate interpretations, responses to the English carol 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. I've written short stories, script, poetry; I've played with style and genre, some are happy, some are sad some are something else. For the next twelve days I'll be posting the pieces here and also sharing excerpts of them via my twitter account @wulftheatre.
I hope you enjoy them and I would love for you to share your own responses to either my creations or the original 'Twelve Days'. Words or music, song or sound, illustration or even movement – whatever you feel inspired to do is very welcome and would be a gift. And, if you like short and sweet, tweet using the hashtag #12DaysOfXmas or post to this blog.
I hope you and your loved ones have a very peaceful, playful, caring, creative festive season!
Twelve Drummers Drumming
Hands stuffed deep into the pockets of my oldest coat I walk, head down, hiding from the cold, to our familiar spot. There he is. Sat on the bench facing the swings. He doesn’t turn around. I can see a limp sprig of mistletoe resting on his knee. I can’t see what is coming.
I sit down. Smiling wanly, head to one side, he dangles the mistletoe above the space between us. I remember sighing. He crosses his legs – and I think that must have been a signal – a drilling sound erupts from right behind us. Out of the bushes come twelve grown men dressed in red and white. Twelve Father Christmases all beating a rhythm I can’t recognise, hammering at their long-suffering drums. It could have been festive. It could have been a death march.
He’s smiling again. He kneels down on the concrete, on one knee, slipping slightly where it’s icy, still trying to hold the mistletoe high – waving it at me, a white flag. It starts to snow. His lips are moving, the drumming gets louder and I can’t hear a word he says.