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Nativity Play - 4 Spoilers That Can Ruin Your Nativity Play and How to Avoid Them

Dec 10, 2007
Although we live in the 21st century and the Information Age, there's no doubt about it...people still love to go see a live play. There's just no substitute for seeing real people perform on stage. And Christmas time offers an opportunity to see one of the oldest (and most beloved) live performances of all - the nativity play. Across this land, in church basements, school gymnasiums and other venues, dozens of nativity plays will be performed. Unfortunately, many of these plays will be ruined by lack of consideration for budget, design, rehearsal and audience reaction. Now we'll take a look at each of these spoilers and how to avoid them.

1. No Budget Planning

Even a small, little nativity play needs a budget and everybody knows this. However, most people fail miserably when it comes to planning for the play's budget. For some reason they seem to think a little play requires no budget planning; the money will just "magically" be there. Nothing could be further from the truth. All plays, no matter how small, need to have their budget carefully planned out. If you plan it correctly, your play won't cost you a fortune, but you still need a budget. Where's the money coming from? What is the total cost? You MUST know these things, so get yourself a budget. And of course, your budget affects all aspects of the production, in particular the design.

2. No Design Plans

What will your production look like? Most people just assume they know how a nativity play will appear. Guess what? They don't. They start getting the play ready only to discover they haven't a clue as to what kind of props to use, how many or where they should go. And they don't really know how to re-create an inn or a stable. If you want your production to be a success, you must design it right and from the beginning. And please...get someone who knows what he or she is doing. And the designing process shouldn't be rushed...anymore than the rehearsal process.

3. Rushed Rehearsals

Too often rehearsals for these kinds of plays are not done properly. "It's just a little nativity play, it can't be that hard." This is the attitude many people have and it sets them up for a big surprise...a big, bad surprise. Often the time is not taken to do rehearsals properly or they're just simply rushed through. Do yourself a favor - take the time. Make sure the actors know where to stand, where to walk, when to enter and leave and what lines to say. And make sure you perform at least one rehearsal in front of a test audience.

4. No Test Audience.

A test audience for a nativity play? Oh, yes. You need one. You must know how the play will go over with a real audience. Does it look convincing...or funny? Can the spectators hear what's being said? The only way to answer these questions is with a test audience. You don't need a crowded room; just get a few people to sit in the audience section at the back during a rehearsal. Then ask for their opinions and take notes. Based on their reaction, make any changes you feel will improve the play.

A nativity play can be loads of fun for the producers and audience alike. But if you're going to put one on, you must take into consideration the budget, the design, rehearsals and audience reaction. Failure to do so can ruin the production. So please...plan your play carefully and you will avoid the spoilers.
About the Author
Discover how one man's nativity play went from a complete disaster to a stirring triumph and how you can benefit from his experience. Read the inspirational story here.

Julian Wayne is an amphibologist and lexicographer.
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