Doing a play with kids is always an adventure according to Lindsey Chambers, who is directing “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at the DeSoto Theatre.
When the Herdman kids show up at a church to get free snacks, they completely take over the Christmas pageant. The kids have dirt smeared on their faces. The message is clear: They don’t belong there.
In the book the play is adapted from, the Herdman kids are described as “the worst kids in the history of the world.” They’re into all kinds of things kids shouldn’t be into. They smoke, they curse, and they’re bullies. What people may not know about the Herdman kids is that their parents are mostly absentee.
“They essentially come into this church that does the pageant the same way every year,” said Chambers. “They turn it upside on its head. It’s lots of chaos, but it’s fun chaos.”
Chambers said it’s her first time directing this particular play, but she has been into musical theater since her college days at Birmingham Southern in Alabama. Last year she directed “Alice in Wonderland” through Rome Little Theatre.
“I always love that they love to learn,” said Chambers of working with children in theater. She said it’s harder to work with adults sometimes.
“With adults it’s harder to reteach them stuff. With kids, it’s like a fresh blanket that you can fold when you need to.”
Chambers said that, ultimately, she hopes the audience learns not to judge a book by its cover once they see the play.
“That’s a huge theme throughout this show. Everyone sees the Herdmans and they see how dirty and grungy they are,” she said. “They assume things and then they turn out to be these sweet kids.”
The “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” opens at the DeSoto Theatre on Broad Street on Friday, Dec. 6, and will run through Sunday, Dec. 15. Times are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. both Sundays.
Tickets are available for purchase at RomeLittleTheatre.com. The cost is $16 for adults, $14 for students and seniors and $12 for children under 13. All tickets will have an additional $2 processing fee.
There also will be special matinees for school student groups, according to the website.