Jade is going to be a little Harlequin doll in this year’s Northern Lights School of Dance production of The Nutcracker. She is pleased as punch about it!
Speaking of “pleased as punch”, I decided to read up a little bit on the history of the Harlequin character and learned a number if interesting things, including that commedia dell’arte is the ancestor of the British “Punch and Judy” shows.
I’ve only ever heard of Punch and Judy in books and songs, but have never actually seen one. I didn’t realize that many of the glove-puppet characters I’ve encountered in my life are actually typical Punch and Judy characters.
On top of all that, reading about Punch and Judy suddenly reminded me of a song I learned a long, long time ago, probably in the very first year I was taking piano lessons, so perhaps just after I turned 4. I haven’t thought of the song in years and at first just the first line popped into my head. After about an hour, I think I have recalled the rest of the lyrics, as well as the melody.
“Punch and Judy are in town,
Oh, what fun to see them clown.
Hurry, hurry, sister Sue,
Show begins at half-past two!”
Strange how music can stick so firmly in our brains and be recalled three decades later.
I’m betting Jade will long remember the thrill of being a little Harlequin doll in The Nutcracker. I know that I’m delighted for her.
And it’s not just because I feel a little smarter now that I know whence comes the expression “pleased as (an apparently often self-satisfied) Punch”.