Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mary - Chosen by God

I had no intention of doing a Christmas musical. None whatsoever. After Ruth - From Rejection to Redemption, people asked for another musical, but I told them to wait until the summer. The school year was just too busy!

You can thank/blame Miriam Lofgren for this Mary musical. Without her encouragement, I never would have even started. Almost immediately after Ruth, she, Elijah, and Jubilee started pressing for another one. You've got to be grateful for the immense faith your siblings have in you! =) I put them off for a while; I was still pretty overwhelmed from Ruth, and I couldn't imagine doing a musical around Christmas, when everyone's so busy. Yet, their suggestions got my brain whirling...

Even before I wrote Ruth, the song Breath of Heaven had planted an idea for a musical in my head. Every time I heard the song, I could see myself dancing to it. I wondered what it would feel like to be Mary, and have all those things happen to you. I learned and presented a monologue as told by Mary in 2005 and 2006, and that made me identify with her even more. All these ideas plus ones I'd gotten from other Christmas pageants and the movie The Nativity Story churned in my brain for quite a while. Finally, I decided to just write them down; after all, I may as well write the musical, even if we never produced it. In two days, I had written the rough draft. Again, I used Scripture as my main source, quoting directly from it wherever possible. I also incorporated fictitious events, as you must when converting something written without a lot of detail into a drama. I used the conversations of Gabriel and three fictitious angels, Angelina, Angelica, and Angela, up in heaven to help narrate the story and I explored what it may have looked like for Mary to be shunned and rejected by her family and friends. I also added some spice to the parts of innkeeper, shepherds, and wise men, to make the musical entertaining.

So, I'd now written the musical and planned which songs could be danced to, and the story began to come alive in my head. It was early September, when all the lessons and my classes of The King's Praise Ballet were getting off to a whirlwind start. After the fairly free weeks preceding September, I began to feel rather busy. No, I decided, a Christmas musical this year definitely wasn't a good idea. Miriam still thought I could do it, however, and showed me that I wouldn't have to hold too many rehearsals, since my dance students would learn the dances in class...

With her encouragement and practicality, I began to think that perhaps it would work. All the dances would be done by my 5 classes of The King's Praise Ballet, so we'd only have to learn the drama parts for most of the rehearsals. With many doubts but much support from my family, I began to plan.

First, I had to decide what I was going to do in the musical. I really wanted to be Mary - doesn't every girl dream of portraying her? After all, the whole reason I'd began directing was so that I could do what I enjoyed so much: act! However, my two previous musicals had taught me that it's very hard to direct and act at the same time. Since I would have little dancers to take care of and so that I could pour more into seeing how everything looked on stage, I decided it would be best for me to just be the director and help backstage.

So, I held auditions on October 15th, 2007. To my delight, the Harts, Olms, Paces, and Simons, plus other great families all came to be a part of the production. I was able to give or make a part for all 21 people that tried out. Miriam Hart got the part of Mary, and there couldn't be a better one. It's been great to see her really become the part so well. And, my dream has come true: I'll at least be dancing a solo to Breath of Heaven while Miriam sings it with her beautiful voice.

Rehearsals have been almost every Monday from 6:30-8 p.m. since October 29th. It's been a joy and a challenge to work with the children and teens in Mary - Chosen by God. The beginning rehearsals were really hard, as I tried to balance this on top of everything else, and I got quite discouraged at first. My family was again a great encouragement however, and I quickly learned that I can't do this on my own. The parents and actors I enlisted to help behind the scenes have been invaluable and helped things go more smoothly. The organization and planning of everything proved a big job, but God has given me strength. It's only by His grace that we've gotten this far.

Next week will be our last week of rehearsals. On Monday we'll add all of the dancers to the mix. All-in-all, between actors and dancers (some doing both) we have around 46 people between the ages of 4 and 17 in this production! Hopefully everything will work out well! The actors have been fun, yet challenging to work with - they're all great individuals! However, I have to keep reminding myself that most of them are still just children, and will do what children do. =) Thursday, December 13th will be dress rehearsal, with all involved.

Finally, on Saturday, December 15th, we'll present Mary at 5 p.m. We're only doing it once, because everyone is so busy this time of year, but we're praying that God will bring those He wants to come, and that it will be a blessing to everyone.

I've learned a lot through this undertaking. I've learned by experience and help from parents more about directing, costuming, set, and light/sound planning. The stress has revealed good and bad in my character, and taught me to trust and take each day one step at a time. Again, I've been greatly blessed by the support and help of each family. Miriam Lofgren went a step further and bought a spotlight for us to use! Her generosity makes things on stage look even better! The pointers from all those watching and helping have been great. Without my Father, family, and friends, this whole thing would still just be a passing thought in my head.

I'd appreciate your prayers as well, that everything will go smoothly. It won't be perfect, but I pray that it will bring God glory.

Then, in less then two weeks, I'll be able to breath again and have a load off my back. And no. I'm definitely not planning a musical for next semester - I need more time at home! Maybe in the summer... we'll see. It's all in God's hands.

11 comments:

Michael L. said...

I'll pray!
-Kay

Beverly said...

I absolutely LOVE the song Breath of Heaven. Will you be videotaping the production - I would love to see it. It sounds like it will be beautiful and glorifying to God. I'll be praying for you and Miriam especially.

Ella said...

You know I will be praying and have been. Miriam is going to be fabulous on Breath of Heaven; she truly has a gift!

Miriam Rebekah said...

You're doing wonderful directing, Anna! I've enjoyed doing both these plays immensely!

But I agree, you do need a break. :)
I'll see you later!

Miriam said...

Anna,

I'm very glad that you are doing the musical! I'm happy to be the one that everyone can blame! It really is coming together well and through your hard work, you are creating a fun and memorable Christmas program experience for 42 kids! It is a dedication of time, but one that I think in retrospect you will be glad that you spent your time in this way.

Sheila said...

I can't wait for pics! What a wonderful opportunity you have! I agree with Beverly...you should really video tape it, or at least part of it! We would all love to see you in action. :)

Will be praying,
God bless,
Sheila

thepatriot said...

And you say you don't think you could work on a campaign. Why, Anna, you could manage one!! :) This is amazing and I am really looking forward to the DVD. No pressure. :)

Love you!
Jen

Maiden Of Virtue said...

I will be praying for you!

John said...

Hi Anna,

Miriam L. does have a habit of pursuading people to do things that they initially don't want to, doesn't she :)
I am very much looking forward to watching your play during my next visit.
Miriam told me that you came up with the play in two days! Sounds like you got a bit of a talent to me!

I hope you don't underestimate your talent in this area of writing plays and continue to develop your talent to a higher level. Not every 17 year old lady like yourself can come up with plays using 42 dancers and actors, and have 42 participants and their supporting families have so much fun in rehearsing and performing the play.

It seems like the Lord is really using you to be a blessing in a lot of people's lives through this effort. I hope you keep it up :)

Your friend,
John

Anna Naomi said...

Thanks for all your prayers and support, everyone!

Beverly, we will be videotaping it, but because of the copyrighted music, I don't know how far we'll be able to share it. Perhaps we'll be able to share some of it... I'd love for you all to see it!

Ella: Definitely! She's beautiful!

Miriam Rebekah: I've enjoyed working with you, Miriam. You're doing a wonderful job. I'm sure you all need a break as well - you're as busy or more so than I!

Miriam: I am enjoying it, and now I am glad you talked me into doing it. It was tough at first, but everyone seems to have enjoyed it, and it's been fun to work with everyone.

Sheila: I'll be sure to post a lot of pictures. =)

Jen: No pressure... right. I've lived with it for a while! As for a campaign... it's different than a dance or drama! =)

John: Yes, Miriam does, but usually it all works out for the better! I'm looking forward to seeing you again when you come. I will continue to develop the gift God's given me - I'm not sure how yet, but I know He has a plan. It's all Him though - without Him, I couldn't do any of this.

Claire said...

This sounds so lovely! I can't wait to see photos!

Blessings,
Claire