Who knows?” I thought. “They always do a play in Advent. Maybe they will think it is fun to produce the world premier!”
They said yes! Woo hoo!
I should know by this time that this amounted to volunteering to direct. Honestly, I had no idea. I was sure the regular team had a lock on directing.
With fear and trepidation I agreed. I have lots of acting experience, but I’ve never directed. On the other hand I did write the thing.
Then I thought,
If I’m nervous about directing this play, and I know it inside and out, surely other people might be nervous about it too. Maybe I should blog about the process.
The pastor handles the casting at my church, even if she doesn’t want to direct. That is great by me.
It is totally different from what I’m used to. In school plays and community theater casting is a drama in itself: auditions, call backs, posting of cast lists. Excitement. Heartbreak.
I don’t think the whole audition thing would work well in our church. It needs to be more of a draft. The fact that Pastor Kat had a clear idea of who liked to participate and whose arms might be twisted was a huge relief.
I suspect that in most churches putting on a play starts with recruitment rather than auditions. I think the word got spread through the Sunday School to make sure those who wanted to be in got in, but from there the roles were efficiently filled.
Having written the play, I had imagined every movement in detail, and put pretty detailed stage directions in the script. That shortened up the preparation time.
Anyone else would need to read it through multiple times, probably at the kitchen table moving through the action with salt for Mary, pepper for Joseph, sugar bowl for the manger, etc.
A rehearsal schedule needed to be worked out. Pastor Kat to the rescue once more. She’s done this for years, so she did what hadn’t occurred to me:
She plotted the dates for five rehearsals. It might be pulled off with fewer, but five gives us some leeway.
She divided the cast as follows:
- The Narrator, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Herod, and “Law and Prophets” are in all rehearsals, but the rest of the roles are in three groups:
- “Group A” adds Zechariah and Elizabeth, who are only in the first half.
- “Group B” adds the Innkeeper, Shepherds, Angels, Wise Men, Simeon, and Anna, who appear in the second half.
- “Group C” is any additional younger Shepherds, Angels, Wise People who may enlarge the cast.
Then she placed the groups on a schedule:
- Rehearsal 1: 1 hour. Groups A and B
- Rehearsal 2: 90 minutes. Group A (first 45), Group B (last 45)
- Rehearsal 3: 45 minutes. Groups B and C
- Rehearsal 4: 90 minutes. Groups A & B (full 90), Group C (last 30)
- Rehearsal 5: 90 minutes, dress rehearsal (A, B, & C)
Way to go Pastor Kat!
All of this makes my work much easier. I’m still heading out into uncharted territory, but I’ve got resources and some great company.
I’ll keep you posted about our progress…
If you are interested in getting a free copy of my Christmas Play, or if you would like to produce it in your church this year, click here.
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