Herdmans’ mischief at Christmas Pageant teaches valuable lesson

Brittany Westerberg

Brittany Westerberg

The Christmas pageant is the same every year, with the same Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men and off-key angel choir. It was the same this year too, that is, until the Herdmans decided to join.

The Herdmans-Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie and Gladys-were the meanest, naughtiest and poorest kids in town. They were the rough and tumble family of youngsters who liked to beat up other kids for their lunches and smoke cigars. The only place they never went-and all the other children were safe from them at-was church.

Then the Herdmans found out that the children who went to church were given food and desserts.

They went, heard about auditions for the Christmas pageant and ended up getting several principle parts, namely Mary, Joseph, the three wise men and the angel of the Lord who tells the shepherds about Jesus.

With the Herdmans making up much of the cast, everyone in church thought that it would be the worst pageant ever. The Herdmans had never heard the Christmas story-and partly believed it to be more of a spy story than anything-and all of the other children were afraid of them. In the end, though, the Herdmans made the parts seem more real and life-like and brought some change to the annual play. Almost everyone agreed that it was the best Christmas pageant ever.

“We had a lot of fun doing this,” Director Tammy Clark said. “I was really amazed at how each of the performers grew into their part. They were all very serious and grown up about it, and some never have been on stage before.”

The play, which was put on by the Brookings Community Theatre, was performed Nov. 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Brookings. Over 500 tickets were sold for the three performances.

“Each night they performed they’ve gotten better,” Clark said. “They all interact so well.”

With over 40 people involved, more than half of them kids, Clark admits that it was a challenge. They had to compartmentalize the scenes during the eight weeks of rehearsal so that not all the children had to be there for every practice. Once they got the blocking down, though, everyone was on task. Parents were involved as well, with games and other things to keep the kids occupied when they were not on stage.

“It was really fun,” Taylor Mileham, who played Alice Wendleken-the girl who had always played the part of Mary in the pageant before the Herdmans came-said. “It was very enjoyable. I was able to be mean, and I’m not usually.”

“[My favorite part was] being with everyone in the cast and seeing all my friends, especially the ones who go to different schools,” Beau Bordewyk, who played Charlie Bradley in the production, said. He also said that, while the kids who played the Herdmans got to be mean during the play, they are not that way usually.