A brief dramatic update: What I did this Sunday

Time for a little review of my drama entanglements.

This past Sunday was the culmination of years of planning and weeks of writing and days of rehearsing for a program in honor of the 50th anniversary of the church that we attend.  I was only moderately involved in the planning, not at all involved in the writing, and again only moderately involved in the rehearsing.

Let’s just say that this was one of those crazy weeks when you pretty much just hold your breath and hope to make it through everything.  Between the two of us, Nathan and I had three rehearsals and three performances – and a family birthday party.  (Thank you SO MUCH, Rachel and family for toting and watching our girlies for us.)

Anyway, back to the drama program.  During the formal banquet, six of us creative/brave souls presented an overview of the church’s history with little vignettes featuring prominent individuals throughout the formation of the church community. There was much humor, a few mess-ups, and even some tears.  Throughout the scenes – which were written by the talented Ryan and Elizabeth Smith – pictures were projected overhead that reflected the events and people about whom we were speaking.

A description of the sketches would be amusing here, but I’m more about processing the whole experience from my perspective – the perspective of an anti-acting-turned-maybe-I’ll-give-it-a-shot kind of person.

Here are some brief reflections on the experience.

1. Flexibility is good.

Do we go ask for that kid to join in even though he never rehearsed with us, or do we refigure the blocking so as to work with the few we already have? Either way is different than we practiced.  Oh well, let’s see how it goes!

No room divider behind which to do our costume and prop changes? Hey look – there are some big banners out in the hallway.  Let’s drag them in. Perfect.

2. If in doubt, be yourself.

One of the characters I played, Jan, was a woman whom I had never met and really knew very little about, especially in regards to her mannerisms. As I finished my lines during one run-through, Dave, a man who had know Jan well, said, “Oh that is so Jan!” and praised me for getting the interpretation just right.  Problem was – he couldn’t articulate what it was that I did that was “so Jan.” Ryan and Elizabeth told me to just be myself.  It was a little nerve-wracking, especially considering Jan was going to be in attendance at the event!

3. Costumes are kind of nice to hide behind.

The last drama thing I did – a short sketch in a church service – did not involve costumes.  I remember feeling very exposed that whole morning as I sat in the service and mingled amongst the congregation.  I had thought it was just part of the territory of acting, but on Sunday I noticed that I didn’t have that same feeling. When I returned to our table after the drama for the conclusion of the banquet program, it seemed like I was back to being just me more easily.  Do any actors out there know what I’m talking about?  Is this normal?

4. This is growing on me.

Shh. Don’t tell Ryan or Elizabeth.

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