PRODUCTION: PLANNING AND REHEARSING SUGGESTIONS|
1) Announce the pageant in your Church/Organization newsletter a few weeks in advance. Include the date and time the play will go on and a sign-up method (by phone, at Sunday school, by e-mail, etc.)(See a sample announcement)
2) You may want to schedule at least two rehearsals on weekday afternoons.
3) If the church or hall you are planning to use has a small portable stage, ask the custodian if he would be able to set it up on the date of the pageant.
4) You might ask some Sunday School classes to make signs for the pageant to hang up around church.
5) Announce the Christmas Pageant in the December church service programs. Also, if
your church has announcements during services, have them announce the date of the pageant to the congregation.
6) If you are planning to make a Christmas Pageant program, find someone who can design one one, and get that person all the information he/she needs on the cast, etc. Figure out how many progams you need to print (the cast members might all want one for their scrapbooks) and be sure to have someone there to hand them out at the pageant.
CASTING/ THE SCRIPT
1) Whoever is in charge should make a list of all the cast members and their parents'/guardians' names, phone numbers, and e-mail numbers. This will make disseminatiing info about rehaersals easier. Also, all sorts of things come up at the last minute, and having the list will come in handy.
2) If you don't xerox the script and hand it out, you can send the website address (wwww.doubleestudios.com/christmas pageant ) to the cast by email and they can print it out at home.
3) Be sure to give the NARRATOR a copy of the script early on, so he/she can can practice. On the night of the program make sure he/she can read it easily, even if it means bringing a flashlight if there's no podium light.
4) Instead of giving entire scripts to everyone, for characters with not many lines, you might just cut up the script and tape each person's lines on 4x6 cards and hand them out. (See sample)
5) You might want to take a group photo of the cast either on the last night of rehearsal or about 1/2 hour before the show goes on when everyone is in costume. After the show there's too much confusion with family members, etc. on the scene. Of course you can try to take a group shot at the final bow, but sometimes it's hard to get a good shot through the audience.
6) Plan to have two adults (or near adults) in the wings at all times to keep up with the script and direct when cast members are to enter and exit.
1) Make sure the pianist (if you are using one) has the music to all the songs. The sheet music is probably available at a library and can be xeroxed; since it's so old, it's out of copyright.
2) You might ask if there are other members of the church who play instruments (flute, acoustic guitar, etc.) who would like to play along with the pianist or organist.
3) To get the audience in the mood, you might consider playing baroque music over a sound system in the auditorium while people are being seated.
1) Always try to save any scenery that you built for use next year.
2) Check with a custodian beforehand as to where plugs for electricity are and if he can have seats set up the before the show.
1) If you use mikes, test them all before the show.
2) You can never go wrong over-miking a pageant. We've visited a lot of pageants where you couldn't hear the kids and it's hard on the audience. We recommend 2 mikes on the stage, and try to stage the play so the kids walk right up to the mikes and say their lines so everybody in the room can hear them. If you can, have them practice with the mikes at rehearsal until you get the sound right, because most kids think they are talking too loud when they talk into mikes, when in fact it's often just right.
3) If possible during the pageant, have someone near the amplifier, so they can turn it up if one of the kids is not talking loud enough.
1) Assign someone to be in charge of turning the lights off and on in the auditorium.
2) Plays work best when the audience is in the dark and all the lights are on the stage. In our lighting section of the site we show some clamp spotlights, like photographers use, to cast light on the subjects. They cost about $8 each at a hardware store. If your auditorium doesn't have it's own lights, we'd recommend these. Don't forget extention chords.
3) Bottom line: Every time a cast member speaks, it's best if they are well lit and speaking into a microphone. That's how Broadway and Hollywood do it. It may take some moving of people around on the stage, but the audience will appreciate it.
1) Some churches serve food after the pageant. If yours does, remember to ask for volunteers to help set up, serve, and clean up.
1) The person organizing the pageant should have a list of the characters and some idea of what accessories their costumes might require. You can ask for parents to supply their own kids' costumes, or have a commmitte of costume makers to help out with the angel wings etc., if you decide to use them.
1) Early on, make a list of all the props you will need, and if there's a church newsletter, ask for people to submit them. This script only calls for simple props that should be easy to find and/or make.
... GOOD LUCK! Your efforts will be greatly appreciated and long remembered.