Liveblogging “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

Ken AshfordLocal Interest, Personal, TheatreLeave a Comment

Well, why not?  I’ve directed it, and I’ve seen every performance.

This is the 4th performance in front of a paying audience.

7:50 — Pretty full house.  A little bit older than usual.  Very cold night.  Nobody in the church balcony, so I feel free to type to my heart’s content.

7:53 — Pre-show music is nice.  We have a cast member out tonight.  She’s in the angel choir, no lines.

7:56 — Uh, why are we starting early?  Brad is giving his curtain speech.  He’s actually getting a little better at this.

7:58 — Oh, dear.  I should have checked where the table was set.  It’s too far stage left.  Danny will never be ab;e to squeeze in his seat.

7:59 — And here we go.

8:00 — How much do I love Sarah King?  Kid’s got talent.

8:01 — Uh, oh.  Not much laughter.  Tough crowd.  Landon, dude!  I told you to come DOWNstage.  If you say your line back there, nobody knows who’s talking!

8:02 — Volume is good though.  Danny fit in the chair.

8:03 — OK.  Now they’re laughing.  A little.

8:04 — Danny changed the line "The angel choir always sounds like a closet full of mice" to "a closet full of cats".  It still doesn;t get a laugh.

8:05 — I always find it weird when characters call other characters by their own name.

8:06 — Okay, the audience warmed up a little.

8:08 — The cell phone/supper gag.  Always an audience pleaser.

8:09 — Why can’t Sarah find that light?  It’s center stage.

8:10 — This scene never works.  Landon talks too fast.  Thank God it last only 30 seconds.

8:11 — Here’s Faith.  What kind of a night will she have?

8:12 — Is Erin good as the snotty stuck-up kid?  Or is she playing herself?

8:13 — Brad has a small part, but he’s really come along.  I wish those girls stage right wouldn’t be so far stage right.  They know better.

8:14 — Kelly”s gagging schtick worked okay tonight.  Better than usual.

8:15 — I never get tired of how cute Ruth Jeffers is.

8:16 — I really like that Grace/Elmer exchange.  Too bad I blocked it too far stage left so half the audience can’t see it.  My bad.

8:17 — Time for McKenzie to jump her cue.

8:17:30 — and she did.

8:18 — The five women chattering lasts 30 seconds too long.

8:19 — Faith, I swear to God you will lose your voice if you shout that much.  Angry, not loud, honey bear.

8:20 — I don’t like the way I staged this.  The kids in the center okay.  But the Herdman lineup is awkward.

8:21 — Wait for the laughs to die down before you start the next line, kids.

8:22 — SHAZAM!  The best part.  Not a great audience reaction tonight.

8:23 — Faith, you really have to stop inserting "I mean" and "You know" in your lines.  It may feel "natural" but it interrupts the flow.

8:24 — Louder, Faith.  She’s either too loud or too soft.

8:25 — This Sarah/Erin scene is sweet.  Sarah is simply a terrific actress.  Great for 12 years old.  I like that back-to-back thing they added on their ownl.  Nice touch.

8:26 — Fire scene coming up.  Kids running all through the church screaming, up and down the aisles.  It’s a miracle nobody has got hurt.  Well, except that one time.

8:27 — Landon!  If you cover your mouth, they can’t hear you!  And then Hobie’s punchline is meaningless.

8:30 — It’s the face afterwards that causes the laugh to go.  I should have told Kelly to not make that face.

8:31 — Wow, weird energy tonight.

8:32 — Fire scene!  Audience liked it.

8:33 — Why can’t they play this stage right like I asked?  Really, it’s where the lights are pointing.

8:34 —  Don is doing well.  I think the audience is glad to see someone their age in the play.

8:35 — Palm tree gag.  Cute.

8:36 — Mary and Joseph were refugees speech.  Yawn.

8:37 — The interplay between Danny and Kelly is cute here.  Ooops, early entrance kids.  Whaddup with that?  Not that it was a problem.  Actually it’s a little better if they come in early.

8:38 — Faith’s solo scene.  Her "conversion" scene.  Nicely staged, nicely lit, if I do say so myself.  Nicely acted.  Not a sound in the house.  Really nice.

8:40 — And the pageant within the play is about to begin.  Hey, the Miss Clark cell phone thing got a laugh!!!

8:41 — Beginning of pageant.

8:42 — "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear".  Why can’t Stephanie stand still?

8:43 — Molly’s wearing those earrings.  She told me I was the best director ever and then asked if I woulod let her wear them.  How could I say no?

8:44 — "Away In A Manger", "While Shepherds Watch Their Flcok By Night"

8:45 — Yeah, Molly!  Nicely done!

8:46 — Sheep knocked over.  Funny.

8:47 — It’s fine if the angel choir wants to stand there; but they can’t be seen.

8:48 — "We 3 Kings" shtick was good.  I think the audience was confused tho.

8:49 — "Silent Night".  Let’s see if Faith pulls off the crying.

8:50 — She does.  I wish the kids in the background would stop fidgeting.

8:51 — And now the epilogue.

8:52 — I’ve never understand that line that Landen says.  Speak clearly, boy.

8:53 — Montage.

8:54 — Final song.  Audience standing and singing.

8:55 — Oh, nice of you to join the cast for the final number, Sean (or Nathan, whichever twin it is).

8:56 —- The End.  Running time: 57 minutes.  Not bad.  Still a little fast.

And I am outta here.