Special to the Citizen
The mark of a great holiday show is finding one that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Morgan County Middle School’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is just that. Based on the 1971 book by Barbara Robinson the show has become an annual holiday tradition for Kathleen Bryant and her drama students. “I’ve lost count of how many years we’ve put this show on,” Bryant said. “It’s definitely a rite of passage for the middle school actors in that it’s the first time they get to perform in front of an audience other than their peers and parents.” Though community members may have seen the performance in previous years Bryant feels confident that this year will offer something different for viewers.
“My eighth graders typically perform this show, but this year it is being put on by our seventh grade production class!” Bryant also stated that the younger students were assisted by high schoolers who worked tech in order to help things gel. “I have a cast of twenty and I have about ten high schoolers working tech for the show which is awesome,” Bryant said. “This group of seventh graders has been spot on with their lines being memorized early on in the semester. I think the challenge for them was trusting the work they put into the show.” The play centers on the calamity that befalls one small town during the holiday season when the city’s local hooligans, the Herdmans, decide to take part in the annual Christmas pageant. The good Christians are originally aghast at the church doors being opened to the uncouth family, however, by the end of the play the town has learned its lesson about judging others and the Herdmans have undergone a journey of discovery and acceptance.
The heart-warming holiday production features strong characters for student actors to portray. Bryant says that her favorite part of the show each year is watching the students develop these strong characters and make them their own. “My favorite part of doing this show year after year is seeing the different interpretations from the new groups of students,” she said. “They are always different and unique.” Most importantly, according to Bryant, are the relationships that students create by taking part in the theater program. “It took a while for this group to gel but in the process of working on this play they became closer,” she stated. “I think theater allows students to become themselves or be comfortable in their own skin sooner rather than later.”