Over the past ten days, I have spent just about 25 hours in rehearsals and performances. No, I’m not getting ready to open some amazing show at a local theater, nor am I shooting a feature film. I have been working on our church roadshow event! Yes, I was roped into helping out with our stake’s presentation of mini-plays where members of each ward work together to write scripts and music, create choreography, build sets, design costumes and perform their masterpieces for each other!
Since I have some theater experience, I have been helping with the sound and lighting. Last weekend I got to attend all the dress rehearsals and saw each of the eight roadshows three times. During that rehearsal marathon, I had to smile at the off-key singing, cheesy lyrics, silly choreography, stiff acting — you know, the stuff that roadshows are made of! I recalled the old “Far Side” cartoon that shows a maestro’s version of hell as having to conduct a junior high school band for eternity. Perhaps endless roadshow rehearsals is how wicked actors / directors will be punished in the next life! 🙂
All joking aside, despite the shows’ flaws, they turned out to be a lot of fun. At the performances last night, the kids and adults in each cast really put their heart into it. Cast and audience members alike were having fun. I was impressed.
Our stake cultural arts director arranged for six experienced individuals who came from outside our city to provide impartial judging. The shows were judged on specific criteria and certificates were awarded to the top wards. I thought it was kind of silly to make it a competition, but the organizers insisted that the competition would help bring out the best in each ward. I suppose there may be some truth to that…
Our own roadshow turned out to be quite good. We didn’t take home the top prizes as judges seem to favor wards who provide live music (not pre-recorded), as well as full production numbers with lots of singing and dancing. Our roadshow was more plot driven and had one main “production” number. We were thrilled, however, when our ward won the award for best script, especially since my wife Robin and I collaborated with individuals in our ward to write it. (If you’ve read Robin’s blog, you know she’s a talented writer.) We also won for best set design. And I was really excited when a member of my deacons quorum, who I had helped direct, won for best actor for the whole stake! Tyler is a naturally talented actor and he was awesome as our main character. The other kids were really good too.
The best part was watching these young people come together to accomplish something great as a team. I enjoyed watching many of them come out of their shells as most of them had never had an experience like it. The euphoria of giving a good performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd was evident on their faces. Their hard work over the past several weeks paid off. I think a few lifelong performers were born last night. And that’s pretty cool.