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Thursday, July 08, 2010

lessons on fairness

as with pretty much everything, the challenge has come in my heart:

"i know you're having fun and everything, but what does this have to do with being a community pastor and sharing God's light?"

see, i have become involved in a community theatre project. we are doing My Fair Lady

although i've directed shows and helped out with characterisations and such, even played in the orchestra pit, i haven't actually played a part in a musical in over 30 years. (the only bit i ever did was playing a biblical character in a musical that our youth group put on when i was 15.)

over the course of this particular show, i've found that, for me, acting is much more difficult than directing because as a director you work with the raw material brought to you by others- working it, shaping it, molding into something that works with everything else you've been molding and shaping as part of your larger vision. as an actor, you bring your own raw material. way tougher- not because you don't have any but because it's so much more difficult to find it within oneself.

many of us are way better at spotting things in others than we are at spotting them within ourselves- both good things and bad things, i suppose. life is the process of self-discovery. a young friend told me that about ten years ago, back when he was probably just a little older than i was when i took that one and only musical role and discovered that i could sing a bit.

in this show, the characters i get to portray are not particularly self-aware, nor holy: one is a drunken street performer whose hero and role model is a moral-less, opportunistic garbage man; the other is a shallow, pompous, judgemental, upper class twit whose acceptance of others is based on whether or not people speak well, carry themselves with style and class in social situations, and keep unsavoury details about their lives well-hidden.

but these roles are just background colour in a larger show which has a powerful message of grace and hope and dignity to the 'others' while issuing a challenge to those of us who get distracted by outward appearances and decorum, rather than seeking the realization of God's greatest dreams for those unlike ourselves.

there is a great moment near the end of the play which drives home a valid point that we as followers of Christ can embrace. in the show, the flower girl turned debutante, eliza doolittle says that "
the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she's treated" she goes on to say "I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to Colonel Pickering, because he always treats me as a lady, and always will"
(or something like that... i'm always lurking in the wings at this point.)

there's something powerful locked up in the word 'always.'

the desire to become better at treating people as God's beloved drives much of what i read and speak. besides all the new relationships in a pre-existing community that has embraced me warmly even though i have so much to learn about performing in live theatre, perhaps the big lesson of the show is a key to why i've found involvement in this project so satisfying.

(i've posted a
related piece on another blog)


At 7/09/2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the parts your playing, theatre is soooo much fun (acting anyways). I almost took part in a play, instead I didn't get the part and helped out with the play behind the scenes (still fun).

I hope you guys/girls the best of luck in the endeavor and I hope you do awesome in your parts!

At 7/09/2010, Blogger jollybeggar said...

ha ha- yeah, for sure. it's sure been fun so far.
as i sent in a little note to these new friends just this morning:

"It seems as though at least three pre-existing communities come together each year to form Summer Stage: Regina Lyric, Do It With Class and Regina Little Theatre. All three of these have key roles in the cultural firmament of our town throughout the year, leaving me regularly astonished as to the high calibre of production that is offered. However, for this particular group to come together in a way that has allowed nubes like my wife and me to try something new- and to feel so welcome and supported in that trying- is truly amazing. I confess to feeling a bit star-struck over the last few days as, through rehearsals and now performance, I get to share a stage with people I've paid money to watch perform..."

yep, good stuff.

speaking of coming to performances, you should date-night it with stacy!

At 7/09/2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been busy with painting - but that's done now...when are the next shows for this performance?

At 7/09/2010, Blogger jollybeggar said...

july 8-10, 13-16 8:00 p.m.
july 11 matinee 2:00 p.m.

At 7/13/2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dangit, I missed it...mind you we were more busy than I though this weekend

At 7/15/2010, Blogger jollybeggar said...

show runs until friday, july 16th... there's still time and space!


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