Merry Christmas: A Vigil for a Starry Night

On a night when the clouds cover the stars like an impenetrable mountain cliff, I wait for a sign. A small tinge up my spine. A desperate plea for the ancient ways to speak once again. I wait for the light, hoping it will come, hoping it will be enough. .

The stars, spread brightly out like colored snowflakes flickering across the onyx sky, reflect a distant constellation, and begin to re-enter the atmosphere, piercing through the fractured clouds, giving faint and distant light to the voidless black, the empty sea, the sandless desert, the vacant abyss that is deep within me. The light, hushed and dimmed by a millennium of travel, is all I have. Is all I ever had.

I wait for the reflection to reach me, hoping one refracted beam from a star long ago still exists, the same ancient light that awakened the shepherd’s eyes one cool and lonely night. Can the light that ushered in a new millennium, awaken a new epoch within me. If so, it might be enough for my heart to go on.

In the midst of tears, in the solitude of our inner being, we yearn to be on that impoverished hill, to understand the magnitude of that sight, a heavenly light illuminating a darkened heart, a heavenly chorus rising to a crescendo of glory.

Will I choose to believe its truth, not blindly though because I know what the light can do for one’s soul.  And though the unbearable pain releases not its grip, I have a question to answer. Does the light still exist for me?

Does the same sky, which God ripped open that night with his right hand, planting angelic heralds of peace on the clouds to rustle awake the shepherds, still exist for me? Can he reach into my clouded heart and announce the truth like a heavenly chorus? If it is so, all suffering and cause of angst still present throughout the world will be no match for the blessed announcement: “A Child is born.”

PERSON: This child is born.

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Six Hour Rehearsal – The End in Sight

Today, my drama crew and I spent 6+ hours together working out the kinks of our new show. Many kinks remain, but it was great to see everything begin to come together.

The first 2.5 hours was working on our mini-musical: “The Last Shepherd.”

the last shepherd

This is a poignant piece which ends our first Christmas show ever. It’s still rough. We had done very little work on it prior to today.  The lyrics are powerful, but now we have to get the ensemble to 1) learn all the lyrics well and 2) belt it out like a Broadway performer. This is one of the most challenging parts of high school drama – volume. They always think they sound  loud. They don’t.

But I’m excited. This is our 5th season of RLT, and we are happy to usher in the holiday season on Dec 3-5.

The rest of practice  today consisted of tightening up the other sketches and doing our FIRST complete run-through of all ten sketches. It went quite well for November 7. We should be ready.

I do love the creative outlet of live theatre. For me, it’s hard to beat!

(Now it’s time for my sick body to rest.)

Two New Sketches

I want to highlight some of the new sketches which will be part of our first Christmas show. First up: “Christmas in the Trenches, 1914.”

This sketch is based on a real event during WWI when, on Christmas Eve, a spontaneous truce broke out between the Germans and British as a Christmas carol wafted in the air. What I’ve tried to do is to make three British soldiers (their stories fictitious) frail and human, trying to survive in the freezing trench when they hear a song from the other side.

christmas trenches

This next one, “The Spies & Mrs. Claus” couldn’t be more different. This is a pure piece of comedic delight, with clever lines, and a sneaky double meaning. The spies were hired by Santa to find out what Mrs. Claus got her for Christmas, but Mrs. Claus has her own ambitions. It’s a lot of fun. That’s two of 10. I’ll highlight the others at another time. It’s going to be a really fun show.

SpiesMrsClaus

Tales of Wonder: Tickets on Sale Now!

My drama group’s new show – RLT Players Christmas: Tales of Wonder – is quickly approaching. Only 54 days out! This is brand new, all original show, and for the first time ever completely themed around Christmas. I’m so excited about it. Here’s the Facebook event page: Facebook

I wrote this show during the summer – July mainly. It consists of 10 dramatic sketches of varying genre. I’m hoping to package this show into book form by the end of the year, because I’d love others to be able to produce it in the future. It’s going to be a ton of fun. Let me highlight the sketches for you.

Does this sound like something you’d enjoy seeing?

“Season’s Greetings” – a grandmother is happily getting the house ready for a visit from her son and family. They haven’t been there in four years. But this year is different, isn’t it?

“The Last Shepherd: A Musical” – This short musical highlights the experience of Baruch, the last shepherd alive who was in the manger the night of Jesus’ birth.

“Jolly Old St. Hick” – A slick city couple get stuck in the middle of red-neck country when their car skids off the road. Jolly old St. Hick is waiting for them.

“Tales of Wonder: A Drama Medley” – A delightful medley of three dramatic pieces highlighting the joy of Christmas: Snow Fort, Santa Daddy, You Gotta Get Up

“Christmas in the Trenches 1914” – adapted from real life, British troops contemplate the Christmas they are missing back home as they look out across the battle field. Could there be a truce between the sides on Christmas Eve?

“Mrs. Claus and the Spies” – a comedy about two elves who spy for Santa, trying to find out what Mrs. Claus got the big boss for Christmas.

“A Vigil for a Starry Night” – a touching, poetic piece about pain and hope on Christmas Eve.

“The Christmas Banquet” – a person is asked to hand out invitations to the Christmas Banquet of the universe, but she’s not sure everyone deserves one.

“National Toy Day” – Congress has just passed a new law, declaring December 25 to be National Toy Day. This isn’t going to sit right with everyone.

“Tree Talk” – the ornaments come alive in their yearly celebration of bringing joy to their family. Candy Cane is shocked to find out that she’s going to be eaten.

It’s a great mix of drama, comedy, and music; sure to put anyone in the holiday mood.

Four shows only at the Penang Performing Arts Centre – December 3-5, 2015.

RLT penangpac visual 3

Finished Drama: “Tales of Wonder”

I’ve been writing for my drama group The RLT Players since 2011, so we are approaching our fifth original show. That in itself seems amazing. It’s been an awesome ride as we’ve performed before hundreds if not thousands of individuals, bringing our unique brand of drama to the stage. We perform short dramatic sketches, centered around a theme, usually with some sort of morale. It’s drama with a purpose, and in the middle of so much modern drama which seems to have no purpose whatsoever, the response to what we produce has been overwhelming. We focus on all kinds of topics from family, to social issues, to economic theory, to religion, to good-old-fashioned wholesome fun. It’s really been the most rewarding experience I’ve had in connection with the theatre.

Well, the new show if finally finished. I’ve been writing it over the past couple of months. It’s our first and perhaps last Christmas show ever entitled “Tales of Wonder.” I approached the writing of this show trying to capture the essence of wonder that I felt about Christmas as a child. I want the audience to walk away in the Christmas spirit, with a smile on their face and charity in their soul. It’s a mix of the secular and the sacred, as any good Christmas show should be. This coming Monday we’ll have our first read-through with the actors, but before I do that, I wanted to highlight the 9 different dramatic sketches which will be part of the show. (in random order)

  1. National Toy Day – this is a fun satire about Congress declaring December 25 as National Toy Day.
  2. Jolly Old St. Hick – a comedy about a sophisticated urban couple whose car breaks down in the deep countryside  on Christmas Eve. A country bumpkin teaches them the true meaning of Christmas
  3. The Last Shepherd: A Musical – this is a short musical about the last living shepherd who witnessed the birth of Jesus.
  4. The Christmas Banquet – about a man who is supposed to invite every person in the world to the Christmas Banquet, but has problems inviting those who are different than him
  5. The Family Homecoming – a comedy about a rich person’s butler, who schemes to bring his employer’s family back  home at Christmas
  6. Tree Talk – a group of Christmas ornaments are all in an uproar when Candy Can realizes that she is going to be eaten at Christmas
  7. Christmas in the Trenches 1914 – Based on the true story of the British and German troops who  set aside their differences and came together to enjoy Christmas in the midst of war
  8. Season’s Greetings – a grandmother is expecting her family to visit her this year at Christmas only to receive a Christmas Card instead
  9. Tales of Wonder: A Drama Medley – this one, which gives the entire show its name, is a collection of three skits which attempt to illustrate the wonder and awe that Christmas gives to Children. All of the skits are wrapped around a beautiful medly called “Arise and Touch the Dawn.” Skit 1: Snow Fort – about boys and girls ready to attack each other with snow balls Skit 2: Santa Daddy – about a father who is caught by his daughter putting gifts under the tree. Skit 3: You Gotta Get Up – about two kids who wake up their parents early on Christmas morning

These were really fun to write. I hope I did Christmas justice. I can’t wait to start working on them. They’ll be performed at the Penang Performing Arts Centre on December 3-5.