Monday, July 16, 2007

What I Never Thought Possible

It was July of 2004. I was 14 years old, sitting in a class at the drama camp at Pensacola Christian College. The teacher was going over each of the roles that had to be filled to produce a play. When we got to the role of director, I wasn't too interested. "I'm never going to be a director," I thought, "Telling everyone what to do is simply not for me." I enjoyed acting and didn't mind working with costumes or props. But directing? Not for me! Or so I thought...

Fast forward to August 27th, 2005. Five families from our home church were presenting Esther-Ordinary Faith. I played the part of Esther... and I was the director. Everyone had a wonderful time working together and the Esther musical was presented well after a lot of hard work. (You can read the rest of the story about this musical in Perseverance Pays Off and see pictures here.)

So what changed? How did I go from being adamantly against being a director to directing a musical. I did it because there was no one else to do it, but in the process learned that I could do something very hard for me - that is, organize a musical production (with a lot of help from others!) and speak up enough to tell others what they needed to do. God helped me so much as I trembled and stammered my way through especially the beginning rehearsals. Through my weakness, He showed strong. Okay, so maybe I could be a director. But actually write a musical? I don't think so!

Some time passed. Because of the fun we'd had with Esther-Ordinary Faith, everyone was interested in doing another musical. I searched and searched for a good one, but was unable to find one. Every Bible story I found had too many boy's parts and not enough for girls or was extremely silly and took too many liberties with the Biblical account.

Our family attended the San Antonio Christian Film Festival in October of 2005; there, we were privileged to see George Sarris present the word-for-word books of Esther and Jonah in great dramatic form. Inspired, mom assigned me the book of Ruth for Scripture memory that year. Dutifully I memorized it, using a scarf and different voice inflections to bring each character alive. While doing so, the story of Ruth began to come alive in my head. Her desperate pledge to Naomi, her sojourn to find food gleaning in foreign fields, her midnight plea to Boaz to be her kinsman-redeemer, and their happy wedding - I could see each scene so vividly. An opportunity never arose for me to dramatize the book of Ruth, so I put it aside and stopped practicing. However, the story stayed in the back of my mind, not willing to be discarded so quickly.

In April 2006, we saw Ballet Magnificat! present their ballet of Ruth. The story was changed and set in a more modern Spain which I didn't appreciate too much, but it was still very powerful. The theme of the Ballet Magnificat! Summer Intensive 2006 was Redemption, and I learned many new insights while there. I knew that it would be an amazing story to present as a musical, so I began searching specifically for one to use. The story of Ruth also definitely involves more female roles - a big plus for our mostly-girl group of families! Try as I might, i just couldn't find a musical like the one I was looking for.

Back in my head, the story of Ruth still simmered. Perhaps I could write it out... but no! Surely I wouldn't be good enough! I had written two different plays for my eighth and tenth birthdays, but they were pretty silly and short. Who was I to attempt a musical? Yet, the idea continued to grow. I heard Fernando Ortega's song, "Take Heart, My Friend" and knew it would be a perfect one for Ruth to dance to Naomi. Nicole C. Mullen's "I Know My Redeemer Lives" would sound great as a finale. And so it went. I set my pencil to paper, and the story began pouring out. I started writing it in the fall of 2006, then set it aside as things got really busy. Finally, in the spring of 2007, I began to set about finishing it. I spent hours researching different songs to use, for I knew that I couldn't write songs! This too was proved wrong, as I ended up writing words to two different instrumental pieces I had on CD to be used expressly for the Ruth musical. I edited time and again as my family helped me proofread the script, and finally found enough songs to use. A musical was born, titled Ruth: From Rejection to Redemption. The author? Anna Naomi Lofgren, following the Biblical account quite closely, with many direct quotations from the book of Ruth. God is truly the Author, however, for He is the One Who planted the vision for it in my mind and heart.

In June 2007 I finalized all of the little arrangements, finding and editing music to use in and between scenes, and asking for permission to use a church building for our practices and presentations. I also sent information about it to different families, inviting them to be a part of Ruth: From Rejection to Redemption. Once I arrived home from dance camp, it was time to begin.

Last Thursday, July 12th, marked the beginning of rehearsals for Ruth: From Rejection to Redemption. Around 25 children and teens showed up to participate, and we recruited some dads to help fill out the men's roles. I held tryouts, and by God's grace was able to figure out who would play each part. In addition to directing, I will be playing the part of Ruth, for I greatly enjoy acting, with Miriam Rebekah as Naomi and my dear daddy playing the part of Boaz.

It's not perfect. The script will take some work to portray, and will probably be revised many times as we seek to bring it alive. I've got choreographing to do for the dances and planning to figure out who will be where when. All in all, I can't do it by myself. God is my Strength and Help, and I'd appreciate your prayers as we put everything together. As in everything else, I'm sure that this will be a huge learning experience for me.

What have I learned so far? With God, nothing is impossible. Oh - and never say never. You just don't know how things will turn out!

To God be the glory! Great things He has done.


Elijah Lofgren said...

Congratulations Anna!

I'm still waiting for your first movie production. ;) :)

Love ya,

Your brother Elijah

Ella said...

Anna, you are going to be fabulous at directing. I know God is going to be the main one doing it though!! I sure wish I was there, but I am glad that I got to read the script already! Keep me posted on how things go! I will be praying!

Miriam Rebekah said...

Anna, you've done wonderfully with putting this together! I feel God has certainly been with you on this.

I'm with you, Elijah. It should be a good one! :)

Anna Naomi said...

Oh, you two! I would say "I'm never going to make a movie" but I've learned better. I need to watch what I say, for it just might happen! Let's just say that I'm not planning on doing one anytime soon - if ever.

Thanks for the encouragement and prayers!

Ella said...

You are more than right, Anna. Never say never!!

Anna S said...

Isn't it amazing how with help from God we do things we wouldn't ever imagine we can do? Congratulations on your good work, Anna!

Laura H said...

Anna Naomi,
You are so good! I just wanted to say, that you are doing something I have been too afraid to start. Keep up the good work!
Hey, I like the dress you wore for Esther. Where did you get it? I would like to make one myself, for summer fashion, for myself!
Got to run!
God Bless!
Laura H

Anna Naomi said...

Laura: I have no idea where we got the dress I used for Esther. It used to be my mother's, and it's pretty old. I think she may have found it at a Goodwill or something...

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Did you ladies do a webvideo on called proverbs 31 maidens? Nice blog!

Many blessings...

Miriam Rebekah said...

Mrs. June Fuentes,
Yes, we did post Proverbs 31 Maidens on GodTube.
Thanks for visiting!

Anonymous said...

This is the first time of replying to anything on the internet , but felt to say every blessing in Yeshua, Jesus Messiah of Israel,I read your article whilst doing Bible study on the Book of Ruth today (am meeting tomorrow with a friend to share the blessings)If and when you produce DVD of the production please feel free to contact me on as i would be interested in purchasing a copy. Shalom from Marion Genes,England