Saturday, July 24, 2010

Live Theatre (why is the church saying "no"?)

I love live theatre!

Live theatre moves the audience in a way that no other entertainment medium can. The viewer sits in the theatre seat expecting to be entertained, and soon finds that he is more than a spectator. He’s a part of the action—he’s a guest of the characters on the stage and he’s been invited into their private world.

I love live theatre!

Last night I had the honor of watching several fine actors perform brilliantly in the wonderful musical comedy, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. Not only are they wonderful actors, but I also get to count most of the cast as my friend. I’m so blessed.

I work for a theatre company that has been putting out quality work for 35 years. New York and it’s Broadway and off Broadway fare is as exciting and vital as it’s ever been. Touring companies bring stage shows to the everyday man, and the everyday man is still coming out in droves to see and be entertained.

I don’t think theatre will die anytime soon.

Several years ago I performed the lead in a fun piece that was written, directed, and produced by a local guy. The show was rated PG-13 and I was totally put on blast for doing the show by a couple of “friends” of mine. The funny thing was that this couple was in the film industry and they made a few horror films that were rated at least a PG-13 if not R.

When they were oh so critical of me doing the show, I pointed out that I would never criticize the movies they made and would never judge their heart or character as they had done to me. “The stage”, the man said, “is different. Everything is so in your face—so right there.”

And that is what makes theatre amazing!

For years I had the great gift of writing, directing, and performing in churches. But those days seem to be gone—at least here in my hometown. Why? Jesus told parables and painted word pictures that drove His point home and into the hearts of the people.

Live drama has the power to bring spiritual truth to life. Well-performed skits or vignettes can show how Biblical truth can be applied to our daily routine.

But…the fast-paced video has taken the place of sketches on church platforms. The really good writers are applying their crafts someplace where they will be appreciated, and they’re not donating their time to church any more. Church drama departments are full of flakey misfit toys and the pastors have become weary of working with them.

Those are my observations, at least.

I have a passion for God and a passion for the theatre and I dream of combining the two. And so, I’ll keep looking for my platform.

In the meantime…I’ll continue to perform when I can. When I can’t—I’ll watch my brilliant friends, as they do it better than anyone I know!

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