It’s the Hard Knock Life

I thought I might finish up the ‘Atheist Bugbears’ series, and do a few random thoughts to clear my head before getting into the next series, which will likely be a crash course in apologetics.

At the time of writing, I’m sitting in the technicians loft of Campbelltown Theatre, a lighting desk to my left, a follow spot to my right, and a bunch of screaming kids beneath me, in orphan rags, servants gear, and a few outfits from the roaring twenties.

It’s “Annie” the musical, and I’ve been lucky enough to be asked along to help with the lighting. It’s a fairly simple enough task (zero manual labour, and the chance to hang with Paul/Harry (the other lighting guy)), but it’s going to take me months to get all these songs out of my head.

But one song keeps appearing on my lips more than others, a jaunty little tune called “It’s the Hard Knock Life”.

I love this tune. It’s quick, happy, jaunty, and then when you pause and ponder the lyrics, it’s entirely horrifying.

“Stead of treated, we get tricked / ‘stead of kisses, we get kicked!” or how about “No one cares for you a smidge / when you’re in an orphanage!”?

The more I think about these lyrics, the more I feel for the characters that sing them. And yet, when I sing them in my head, I can’t help but lift my head a little, and bounce along with the tune.

But that’s rather the point of Annie, I guess. Annie is an orphan who, in the face of overwhelming oppression, always manages to keep a brave face, and encourage those around her to keep an eye on ‘tomorrow’, when things might not be so bad.

Never work with kids or animals, huh?

I think this is probably why this story is still packing theaters all over the world (even school plays like this one). It’s a great reminder in times like these that, while we may not be able to control the cards that life deals us, it’s entirely in our control what face we put on to the world to play the hand we’re dealt, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that we do what we can to offer a smile to those in a worse place than our own.

The character of Annie is infectious and, if you haven’t seen the story, I recommend giving it a look see, even if it’s only once.

The 1982 movie also stars Tim Curry as the villain (an archetype he seems especially suited for), which is just all the more icing for the cake.

But enough of the advertising, what is an old movie or play that you feel is a great reminder of dealing with the trials and tribulations of life?