I Didn’t Just Play Imogene, I WAS Imogene Herdman

Written by Cathy Berdy

In 1991, Cathy Berdy was in 9th grade.  She had performed at Cape Fear Regional Theatre before, but this time, Cathy was auditioning for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  She landed a role as Imogene Herdman.  This was a role she would play for only 2 years, but one that created memories and an experience that will last a lifetime.  Here is Cathy’s story:


I didn’t just play Imogene, I was Imogene Herdman.  Ok, I was not impoverished nor was I lacking good parents.  But, I felt like an outsider… and I was mad.  As a well-adjusted, happy adult (I hope!), it is hard to recall now what exactly made me so mad at the world – but, I was.  Some of it may have been typical teenage angst.  But, I remember feeling like an uninvited guest to my own life’s party.

My dad was an officer at Fort Bragg, but I certainly didn’t fit in with the pretty blond cheerleaders and football stars that I perceived the kids of other officer’s to be.  I was indie in a world of pop.  I didn’t even fit in with my own ridiculously smart, academic, prim, and proper family.  Rules and authority made my skin crawl.  The world seemed so messed up, and I wanted to change it.  I wanted to be free.  I wanted to be free from people telling me who I should be or how I should behave.  I hated everyone, but I also hated that I wasn’t one of them.

Then one day, Cape Fear Regional Theatre offered me an opportunity to audition for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  I remember the director looking me up and down and loving everything about me.  He said my audition wasn’t great, but that my army jacket and combat boots told him everything he needed to know.  Suddenly, what made me “not right” for the rest of the world made me “just right” here at the theatre.  It was the best feeling I had ever had.

I played Imogene Herdman for 2 years.  I loved playing someone who was as mad at the world as I was.  It was cathartic in ways I didn’t understand until years later.  I will forever cherish CFRT for giving me a place where I was wanted and accepted for who I really was and for introducing me to a world bigger than my own.  CFRT gave me opportunities to be responsible, grown up, and appreciated.  I learned.  I grew.  And, I was significantly less mad at the world.  I hope CFRT will continue to provide opportunities for all kinds of children to learn and grow for years to come.

Because of our generous donors, Cape Fear Regional Theatre offers a wide variety of classes, summer camps, and youth productions that give all sorts of children opportunities to develop skills, meet friends and mentors, broaden their worldview, build confidence, and discover what makes them unique and special. Please consider donating today to our 25 Days of Giving campaign to help CFRT reach more children in 2016!

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