Category | Drama Ideas

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  1. What is drama?
  2. Controversy Surrounding
  3. Ways to Utilize
  4. How to Get Started
  5. Resources

An excellent article on using drama in the church by Becky Fox

It is said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” There are also single words that conjure up vivid images – words like boom, sizzle, festival, surprise, Chicago. Drama takes both of these pieces – words and pictures – and creates an engaging expression of existence. Drama is communication and as such must include a giver and a receiver. Traditionally, the giver would be those on the stage, and the receiver, those in the audience. Today, drama is comprised of many creative expressions that blur the lines between giver and receiver, especially in this electronic age. Traditionally, drama was storytelling through individual spoken word, dialog amongst characters, and/or physical action. This kind of drama took on the forms of character monologues, presentational storytelling, sketches, plays, and pantomime presented by actors before live audiences. Then came the age of displaced receptors – Movies, TV, and Radio – encompassing the forms utililized previously, however now, the actors were performing for cameras, microphones, and technical operators. As the times have changed, so have the forms that encompass those things referred to as dramatic arts. They have grown to include participation on the part of the audience, improvisation by actors, and have even extended as far as oulets of dance and pageantry.

Drama and the theatre have been around for centuries, including within the confines of the church. It was not until the recent “Entertainment Age” that we have seen a resurgence of creative, dramatic, theatrical presentations within the church. For many years the use of anything remotely theatrical was forbidden from most mainline/fundamental/bible-teaching congregations not dissimilar to the ‘music-of-the-day’ creeping into worship services. Whether, it was seen as attempt to modernize the church or help it relate to society, or that eventually for good or bad, the church tends to resemble the culture in which it finds itself, we now find ourselves dropped in the middle of Engaging Entertainment that has brought drama and the creative arts back into the church. Now here in lies the controversy, simply the choice of the word Entertainment to in any way relate to the church or especially worship of our God. Notice the full choice however, Engaging Entertainment. Entertainment for entertainment’s sake is empty and devoid of true meaning or value. It may cause brief laughter or removal from the daily grind, but it doesn’t carry something to hold onto, to grasp, to understand, to engage our minds, our souls. Indeed, without one, one is left happily void, and without the other, reflectively irrememberable. It is in fact a balance of both that makes the dramatic arts creative and worshipful at the same time.

Scripture tells us to worship in spirit and in truth, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Because drama is a creative art form, there are literally an infinite number of ways to utilize it, adapt it, and make it work for any situation. Some options include: tell it yourself, tell it through others, tell it with others, tell it in your own words, tell it in others words, tell it without words. ‘Tell It Yourself’ means that you, as actor, are responsible for conveying the message of the story, problem, expression by yourself to some kind of audience, whether live or remote, hundreds or a few. ‘Tell It Through Others’ implies that there are actors separate from the words. Typically this would be presented as pantomime or to cross language barriers, where the actors are not the ones speaking. A third expression is to ‘Tell It With Others.’ This type of experience is just that, an experience for all involved from actors, directors, and technicians, to the audience alike. Any of these can be presented ultilizing ‘Tell It In Your Own Words’ – something the actor or director has written or adapted as an original art form – or as ‘Tell It in Others Words’ – something the actor or director has found and utilized in the context of worship. ‘Tell It Without Words’ implies choreography or staged pictures, pantomime or pageantry.

Here are some ideas for how to use drama in a church setting: reader’s theatre, Sunday school lesson, sermon introducer or recap, radio theatre, song introduction or recap, practical examples, ice breakers, mime (story/song), plays for outreach, outreach reperatory, telling Bible stories, discussion starters, announcements, involved worship, support groups, etc.

How to get started…. Pray. Determine whether you are the actor or director, producer, or all of the above. Find others of like-mind to help you or at least encourage you as you endeavor to serve God with your gifts, talents, abilities, hopes and dreams. Start slow. Whether its once a year, once a quarter, once a month, or once a week, start with what you can handle. It can be as simple as reading scripture dramatically or as complex as a full Broadway production for a dinner-theatre outreach. Pray. Decide what kind of help you’ll need to pull off whatever your plan is – actors, publicists, designers, script-writers, etc. Find or write, choreograph or adapt your play, sketch, monologue, dance or mime. Pray. Rehearse. Pray. Present. Pray. Recap. Pray.

Performing for an Audience of One…..

Source: Copyright Becky Fox
Used by Permission.

(Becky is the ICHTHUS Drama – Director (a worship and outreach dramatic ministry for 5th -12th grade students) at Liberty Bible Church: www.lbchurch.org and Founding Director of Area Christian Theatre Ensemble – a community theatre organization dedicated to producing family friendly productions with a distinctively Christian worldview. www.areachristiantheatre.org

 


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Learn More…

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