Tonight I went with friends Sue and Martin to Manistee. We met up with Ramona at the Bungalow restaurant and ate dinner together.
Then Martin, Sue and I (Ramona had already seen it) went to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, put on by the Manistee Civic Players. This was staged at the high school, rather than their usual venue at the Ramsdell.
I'm sure most of you know the story, so let me just say this in introduction: this is the sort of production that community theater is all about. The cast is largely children. I'm sure anyone who has organized a typical church Christmas pageant can feel the irony oozing from this play full of children about a play full of children. According to the program, this was the first stage experience for a lot of these kids, some as young as six years old. And they did a great job. I could understand almost all of their lines- certainly no worse than many plays where the actors are all adults.
I'll just hit the highlights of the plot. None of the other children like the Herdmans. Those kids are mean and dirty. In fact, one boy admits to liking to go to church because it's the one place no Herdman will go.
As Christmas approaches, Mrs. Armstrong breaks her leg and can not direct the Christmas pageant. She gets Mrs. Bradley to agree to take over. But almost no one wants to be in the Christmas pageant because it has become familiar and boring.
Meanwhile, Charlie Bradley makes the mistake of telling one of the Herdmans that there are lots of free refreshments after Sunday School. Consequently, the Herdman's show up and immediately volunteer to take on roles in the pageant, no matter that they don't even know the Christmas story.
Here are Imogene and Ralph Herdman, fighting over the doll that is going to represent baby Jesus.
Mrs. Bradley reads the Christmas story, and these unwelcome kids who have never heard it before add lots of "Shazam," and they ask interesting questions.
Imogene decides she wants to be Mary, and here's the result as she absorbs the power of the familiar tale.
Imogene and Ralph after the wisemen visit. Wiseman LeRoy Herdman (or maybe Ollie, I'm not sure) brings the gift of the ham from their welfare basket.
Finally, I just have to show this picture. This is one of the "baby angels." What else can I say... angelic.
Lots of fun! Time to visit in the car on the way, too.
In other news: I am working on the last editing of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.
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