The last two nights, the Above All Cast ran through the entire production. The purpose of these two practices was twofold. One, it was to get the proper structure of the production set both from a technical and performance perspective. The second, it worked to create a unification of the cast and crew of Above All under the service of God Almighty. Today, we detail how both of those purposes were fulfilled and provide to you all some insights from the perspective of one in the cast.
Getting Your Ducks In A Row and Feeling
There is a lot of things that have to go right in any production, great or small. Above All is a massive undertaking and has multiple methods of portraying the last seven days of Christ and His earthly ministry. We use audio and video methods not typically found in other productions, whether secular or spiritual. Some scenes are projected onto the walls of the church. Others are fully acted out by the cast. Still others are a mix of the two. On top of that, there are songs and audio and lighting cues that have to sync up with what is happening on the screens and stage. Each member of the cast has to know where they are supposed to be, what they are supposed to be doing and how they are supposed to be portraying their actions. All of it has to come together in one smooth operation or the projection of Christ's Last Days will fall short.
As mentioned in the previous post, we have directors to help us with that. However, whether for a technical crew member, singer or actor, we all must take ownership of our responsibilities. The word we use throughout this preparation process is "feel". We have to feel what we are doing and what is happening around us if we are to portray it as real and authentic. If I as Matthew don't feel the audacious action of Judas to rebuke Mary of Bethany for pouring out the box of alabaster, the audience will see through the scene as just some guys pretending. If I do put my self in Matthew's shoes, I can witness the love and devotion he had for Christ to the audience.
Unified in Mind, Body and Spirit
Another thing that is regularly spoken to us is to be together as one Body in our portrayal of Christ's last days. Even though my group, the disciples/apostles, primarily only works with each other, we are encouraged to interact with the Romans, Priests, the other Jews and the crew when we are not out in action. We fellowship together backstage. We pray together. We share encouraging words and scripture with each other. This helps us to truly be unified as a Body.
Each practice we open with a devotion from Sister Mickey, Brother Keith and/or Jonathan Dean. This leads to testimonies, prayer requests and worship of God. Though we are all tired from a long day of work, we will spend 30 to 40 minutes doing this. Because this is more than just a play. It's more than just a great dramatic production. It is us giving glory to God and witnessing Him to all who will enter and see. We must be a Body that has the same mind and spirit for God. This mini-service before practice has led to two straight relatively smooth run throughs. There is a lot of practice yet to come before our first show on April 7th. However, we are purposed in ourselves to stay unified as we press towards the mark. We hope you continue with me as I recount my experiences with Above All.
Insight From The Disciple/Apostle Group
There is a lot of running backstage for our group. Our scenes are packed in one behind the other and all of our exits for one scene our on the direct opposite of our entrance from the next. I am learning how to run in the dark with 12 other men (Jesus is with us) while trying to avoid every body else, all of whom are moving in the opposite direction. Having these practices is most definitely helpful in building our stamina as well as guiding us so we don't get trampled by a garrison of Roman soldiers.
With the practices all being so packed in, I am going to hold my audio review of the whole practice and production process until after the event. I will provide a new recap of Above All on Monday, recounting all of the Above All practices over the weekend, including the all day practice that will be taking place on Saturday.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.