We all want our Christmas pageants to be as memorable as possible, and while the following five tips to improve your Christmas pageants do not guarantee its success, they will help you avoid the pitfalls that have destroyed more Christmas pagesants than any other factors.
When working with children, especially very young children, there is always the element of the unexpected. The child who panics, and runs screaming for Mother or Daddy, the child's little leg's that can not make the top step and falls during her entrance, or the child who invariably means to say frankincense but says Frankenstein instead, are all human errors that can be classified as heart warming and forgivable. They will not pull your pageant down. Other factors will. Five tips to improve your pageant are actually pitfalls that should be avoided to guarantee its success.
Tip # 1: This scene is mine! Steal it and you'll be sorry!
Nothing does more to destroy the success of a Christmas pageant than the term known in the theater as "upstaging" or scene stealing. Since most children are oblivious to it, they are guilty of doing it without realizing.
To scratch their head, adjust their halo or any other movement no matter how innocent, pulls every eye from the performer to the child who moved. Professionals will not tolerate being upstaged, and usually qualify to "get even", all of which destroys the purpose of the scene and the sincerity of the message.
The best way to avoid any form of upstaging is to do the following exercise at the very beginning of the first rehearsal. Have five children sit on stage while another recites a passage of scripture or a familiar story. If one child moves, cracks his knuckles or sneezes, he is upstaging the performer. Once children see what upstaging is and how it distracts, they never forget, and they will call each other on it whenever it happens.
Since the little ones find it almost impossible to sit without fidgeting through three versa of Silent Night or some other performance, it's best to get them on and off stage as quickly as possible.
Tip # 2: Distracting is as bad as upstaging, if not worse, and Dad is usually the culprit.
Distracting, like upstaging, pulls them eyes of the audience from the performer and breaks the magic spell the performer has worked so hard to create. Amazing as it may sound, it is invariably the father or even the mother who ruin their own child's performance.
While their child's performing, they decide they want a picture and tell themselves: I'll just sneak down the aisle, get my picture and sneak back . Nobody will even notice! "And while he's hunched over, tiptoeing down the aisle, watch the audience and see what they do. of the audience can not sneak. He can only distract.
In this day and age, there is an easy solution to the problem. Have an expert with a digital camera sit in the front row and take pictures of everything. E-mail all the pictures to every family and let them print the ones they want.
Just be sure to tell the parents about it, and only permit parents to take pictures at dress rehearsal.
Tip # 3: Wait a minute! I can not understand a word they're saying!
While some advances in science have made pageant productions simpler, others have made them worse, and one of the largest heads is texting. It may be the Morse code of the present day language, but it is also changing the way America speaks. The other day I heard one teenager ask her friend, "Jeet jet?" and the friend replied, "No. Jew?
The translation from texting into English is: Did you eat yet? "And the reply is:" No. But what is the point in giving children speaking parts in a Christmas Pageant if nobody can understand what they are saying? at a pace that reads a speeding ticket.
Since the problem is new, the only solution is to record the passage and have the child speak along with it until they are within the speed limit.
If the audience can not understand what is being said, your pageant is guaranteed to be a flop.
Tip # 4: Acts that make the audience gasp and turn polite applause into thunder are out there. Go for them and watch your pageant grow.
Some acts are called crow pleasers or special talents, and at all costs do not miss the chance to find and feature them.
A crowd pleaser that never fails is that very small child who can sing without being shy, and on tonal center without wavering from the melody. A song like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" usually works for a child liked this and it is guaranteed to be a show stopper. The audience will be surprised and amazed, and they will tell you so by the applause.
If you have an unusual talent, do not hesitate to use it, even if you have to change the pageant to find a spot for it. Adjust the script to fit your congregation rather than trying to get the congregation to bend to the script. Singing families, violin players, ballet dancers who are very good-use them!
Every audience admits and appreciates talent, so never miss an opportunity to feature talent within the cast.
Tip # 5: Discipline! Discipline! And more discipline! Without it, you do not stand a chance!
Children will always test their leader. But you can not direct a pageant if children are running wild, screaming and playing tag. The lack of discipline will destroy a pageant before it ever gets started if you allow it to happen. If you're not great at laying down the law, find a parent who is a school teacher or someone who is naturally stern. You will probably only need his or her to establish rules at first, but it should be someone who is not skiddish of issuing warnings or even threatening eliminations to anyone whose behavior will not measure up. Without discipline, there will be nothing but chaos, and your pageant will reflect every aspect of it.
These five tips to make your Christmas pageant a success, are like building blocks that give it a strong foundation. They guarantee that you pageant will not be a chaotic migraine, but a precious memory of Christmas that the children will cherish for a long, long time.