Saturday, 27 March 2010

More F words

Earlier today Adam Roberts mentioned on twitter that he was at a primary school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He said that the school had chosen to change some of the lyrics in the Potiphar song - instead of inviting Joseph to "come and lie with me, love", Potiphar's wife now desired him to "come and have some tea, love".

My own primary school changed the line to "come and BE with me love", but did this merely by crossing out the word "lie" and substituting "be" on the sheets of lyrics. Amazingly, we caught on, but beyond a few giggles and some puzzlement there was nothing.

However, a year or so later I was in a choir doing Oliver! and whoever was in charge decided to modify the song "I'd do anything". In the song (skip this bit if you know anything at all about musicals) the Artful Dodger is claiming that he would, in fact, do anything for Nancy, and she is giving him lists of specific tasks to see if this is the case. So at one point, she asks him if he would "Even fight my Bill?" to which he replies "What, fisticuffs?"

Unfortunately, whichever adult it was who decided this sort of thing thought that "fisticuffs" was not a word s/he wanted a bunch of kids to sing. I don't know whether it was considered to be too difficult a word, whether the implication of violence was the problem (surely not) - but we were condemned to sing that line as "what? ... *empty space, filled up by some la la laing*" for no discernable reason.

Result: for many years I thought that "fisticuffs" was a dirty word and have never been quite able to rid myself of the association.


Fisticuffs. Giggle.

2 comments:

Celine said...

My nephew was mighty pissed off last year (in fact, he withdrew from the play in protest!) when his school removed the Nazis from The Sound of Music! (What's it about, then? He asked. A nun moving in with a family! What good's that?)

My mind boggled. Why put on the play if you're going to cut out the story?

Aishwarya said...

That makes absolutely no sense - especially since a lot of the children involved have probably seen the movie/know the story anyway.