Drama — The Ultimate Team Sport

“The show must go on!”

You’ve heard the phrase. It usually refers to an actor in a leading role who “hits the boards” (stage) in spite of sickness, or to a prepared understudy who goes on for an actor who absolutely cannot, or to a little homeschool drama class crew with no understudies that scrambles like mad to find someone who can step into a role at the last minute.

I’ve had dedicated kids (with parental support) perform with fevers and in spite of a family wedding. Once, a leading role had to very reluctantly leave town due to a death in the family, right before dress rehearsal. The co-op director stepped in and we survived just great.

Our homeschool co-op drama classes (divided into lower and upper grades) are a risky endeavor because I have always been willing to do several things: 1) raise the bar high on the quality and complexity of the musical play despite the daunting time constraints of about 16 hours of rehearsal over 10 weeks, 2) take whomever signs up and guarantee them some kind of decent role, and 3) customize each play to fit the specific cast I get. That means, if we lose someone, it can be a challenging situation. It’s a risk we have taken twice a year for going on 12 years. One way or another, we’ve made it through every time!

A Team, A Body, A Family

Drama truly is a team sport, requiring the commitment of every cast member. In football, if the quarterback is a no-show, that’s a problem. If the unsung lineman who knows how to protect that quarterback is a no-show, that’s an equal problem. As I try to get across to the kids, if you’re in the cast, you’re important!

There’s a famous passage in the Bible where the Apostle Paul talks about the Church as if it were a physical body. Take a look at I Corinthians 12:14-26. The head or the face or the brain may seem most important and deserving of glory, but it can’t survive without all the other parts. Even a hulk of a football player can get sidelined by a damaged little toe. Wherever you are onstage — whoever you are in that body — you are important.

A play cast is a team, a body, and a family of sorts. When each member strives to support everyone else, at every rehearsal, and when the parents are supportive, challenges may still arise, but they will be met and overcome.

Being “Present”

Regardless of your experience or skill level, you can try your best to be present at every rehearsal and every performance, whether onstage, “in the wings,” or waiting for your turn to practice.

Study your script and learn your lines. Pay attention to whatever is going on onstage. Know your cues. When onstage, think about what is happening. Direct your attention to the actor speaking, or wherever the director has coached you to look. Try your best to listen to each line.

You may just be a beginner — you may still be a little shy — but, if you practice some of these things, you’ll go a long way toward looking like a pro! You’ll be acting!

[This is the third blog in a series. See the two previous entries.]

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