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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

Cast of Preschool Nativity Play Wakes Up to Scathing Review From Ben Brantley

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

by Aidan Sears. @aidanjsears.

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — The cast of St. Joseph Preschool’s production of the Nativity scene woke up to a devastating sight this morning, as they opened their copy of the New York times and discovered that theatre critic Ben Brantley had given them a devastatingly negative review, sources close to the toddlers report.

“It’s a terrible feeling to read those things about your child,” says parent Janet Lobanick. I mean, Brantley wasn’t entirely off base with his assessment. The sets were shoddy and the performances amateurish. It’s the tone of his review that got to me - I mean he really seemed to revel in ripping this production a new one.”

According to St. Joseph teacher and Nativity scene director Angela Thornton, the class had endured a grueling three-day rehearsal of the one-page play. While Thornton admits that the production was not flawless, she believes that Brantley’s critique of the play as “deliriously sacrilegious — and not in the good way,” was a bridge too far.

“We got a standing ovation from all the parents, and only one of the Wise Men had to be ushered off stage because he wouldn’t stop crying,” Thornton said. “To me, that’s a Nativity play well done. I get that Brantley loves writing pans, but come on, we’re kind of low hanging fruit, right?”

Brantley, who was seen pacing the streets of Mount Pleasant Sunday night “looking for a theatrical fight to pick,” pushes back against the claims that he sought out the play for an excuse to pop off a couple of patented sardonic Brantley witticisms.

“Why should I allow mediocrity to go on unchecked in this world?” questioned the critic. “While the hoi polloi may be complacent with a bunch of children stumbling through the lines that their teacher mouths to them offstage, I believe art needs standards. I also believe that the Times needs traffic in this hate click economy. So don’t hate the player.”

Luckily, the young thespians at St. Joseph do not seem to be letting the bad press ruin their spirits.

“What’s a newspaper?” asked toddler and Wise Man Jameson Lobanick, age three and three quarters.


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