Christmastime is near, and to help bring in the spirit, Cape Fear Regional Theatre presents the play “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The play has been a tradition of CFRT, bringing cheer to many, for 28 years. The show opens Dec. 6 and runs through the 22nd. It involves three casts of local children and plenty of hijinks, too.
According to the play director, Brian Adam Kline, the show is based on six “misfits” who help depict an unconventional version of the Christmas story. The transformation the children undergo in the process is both heartwarming and hilarious.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” was originally written as a book by Barbara Robinson in 1971. It focuses on the Herdman family, which includes six rebellious, obnoxious and hard-headed children ranging from 8-13 years old. They are known for their deviant and bullying behavior.
In the play, Grace Bradley is tasked with directing the church Christmas pageant. The Herdman children shock their peers by volunteering for the play. Accommodating the Herdman family proves to be more than Bradley, or the other children in the pageant, bargained for.
Imogene Herdman portrays Mary, and her brother Ralph is Joseph. It astonishes and dismays the others when they learn that the two leads have never heard of the Christmas story. The community members’ preconceived assumptions about the Herdman children exemplify our own prejudices and bias toward others.
The play sheds some light on faulty human thinking, like how people will often judge others based on their appearance, cultural background and more. In so doing this, we fail to look deeper into the heart of the individual and what motivates them. One important message the play depicts is to keep hope in humanity.
The play also serves as a reminder that redemption can be found in the most unexpected places and that often, the underdog has something positive to contribute to society. Although the Herdman children are rambunctious, deviant pranksters from a poverty-stricken home, they begin to learn comradeship and how to contribute to their community.
Kline has worked diligently on developing the performance according to what the local community enjoys, and it goes without saying that the entire show from beginning to end creates a sense of harmony and brings about an element of cheer.
Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for children under 18. The play is family-friendly, Christmas themed and appropriate for all ages. There are performances Dec. 6-9, Dec. 13-16 and Dec. 19-22. Military Appreciation Nights are Dec. 6-7 at the 7 p.m. performances. For tickets and information, call the box office at 910-323-4233 or visit www.cfrt.org.