Saturday, November 21, 2009

Working in the Details

God is faithfully bringing the details together for "Beyond Bethlehem," but it takes quite a bit of work on my end as well! It can get overwhelming to look at all that has to be done, but I must remember to take one task at a time.

My dad helped me find and order a light board, 2 dimmer packs, and 4 PAR56 light fixtures, and he has been experimenting with the board and building stands - trees, to use more correct terminology =) - to use with them. I am so blessed to have a father that willingly gives of his time to figure out these more technical aspects. We'll try the lights tomorrow or Monday, and then order more if needed.

The props are almost completely gathered, thanks to the help of Mrs. Robyn and the generosity of two friends in letting us borrow things. The three boxes/chests we have to use for the gifts of the wise men are perfect, and there are quite a few baskets of varying shapes and sizes to add character to Jewish ladies. There are also many other things - a lot to keep track of, but I'm blessed to have help.

Last rehearsal some lovely young ladies went through the costumes to see what we had for each actor (the dancer's costumes have already been gathered). They did a great job, although I realized later that I should have given them more explanation, for they were a bit overwhelmed. But, they made some great choices, and I spent time afterward going through what they had picked, switching some things, and finalizing others. On Thursday morning Natalie and Katherine helped me do some more organizing, and today I've spent 4-5 hours sewing.

I invested in some beautiful dance costumes, which cost a pretty penny, but most of the other costumes are ones we made this summer, which helps the budget! I had to make a few more tunics (and found some inexpensive sheets and curtains at Goodwill to supply the material), in addition to some hats, sashes, scarves, and turbans. It's enjoyable work, but again takes time.

With 57 actors and dancers to outfit - some playing more than one part - our costume racks are laden! But again, God has provided willing helpers, with two 13-year-olds bravely assuming the roles of "costume mistresses" to help keep things organized and ironed.

The set design is pretty minimal, but I did want some columns to use in the temple scene. A father who is a carpenter found inexpensive materials and agreed to make them after my dad and I had looked at different options. I'm excited to see how they'll turn out, for I know they'll be things I can use again and again.

The choreography is almost completed. It has been a challenge to keep things fresh for 10 different dances, but God has supplied wonderful inspiration. After listening to the music again and again, I worked on one or two dances at a time. My students have learned them well, although there are still a few spots to iron out. My beginning solo (as the Biblical Anna) is still in progress. It is a fully-instrumental, beautiful piece that is supposed to be a prayer, and I'm realizing how much easier it is to choreograph songs with words! I continue to work on it, and pray for creativity to finish it soon.

There are many other odds and ends to sort through and figure out. The details never seem to end. But, God is giving me grace and I'm trying to persevere and diligently tackle them as needed.

Your prayers are appreciated as we seek to bring this story to life for the glory of God!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Acting Empathetic

When Mary and Joseph arrive in Egypt, they're greeted by some friendly, quite talkative ladies.

Explaining the whys and hows of the scene

"You have to act motherly and sweet!" Jubilee's not so sure...

Give it a try now - that's the idea...

Second Rehearsal

For the first rehearsal of "Beyond Bethlehem" on November 2nd, the majority of time was spent sitting down, as we read through the script and worked on line interpretation.

The second rehearsal, on November 9th, was spent working out blocking and continuing to work on lines, expression, and the ever-present need for loud volume! Mrs. Hart took these pictures at the rehearsal and kindly shared them with me.

It's always a challenge as the director to know what to tell everyone as you help them bring their character to life. Blocking is another hard thing to figure out, but I spend time on my own and talking with my sister planning things, and then make suggestions and changes as I work with the actors.

One big challenge is making sure that the audience can see the actors while not making the actors look posed or stiff. It's something we're still working on.

It's fun to see each moment come to life as they get it! There's plenty of fun through the hard work of each rehearsal.

Our third rehearsal was this afternoon, and line by line, it's coming together... Slowly but surely.