The Sistine Chapel Dramatic Sketches

We had three successful days performing our dramatic sketches in the replica Sistine Chapel at penangpac. The four sketches were meant to enhance the viewing of the chapel paintings by telling stories related to the painters or their subjects.

“The Heavyweight Fight of the Ages: Almighty God vs. Nothingness” – this one focused on several of Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling dealing with the creation.

“Apathy” focused on Michelangelo’s paintings about Adam & Eve.

“Moses & Michelangelo” (the only one not written by me – it was well written by Jackie Ashkin following a concept of mine) dealing with the paintings of Moses and the biographical background of Michelangelo.

“The Life of Christ in Verse” focused on the paintings of the life of Christ in sort of rhythmic poem that blended the themes of four poems into one.

The actors did a great job rotating their skits in and out of the chapel. They performed a total of ten times over three days to a bunch of different people. Here are a couple photographs from opening night:

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The Sistine Chapel Dramatic Sketches

Our school is pretty cool. Each May we have a week we designate as our Fine Arts Festival where we have band concerts, live theatre (that’s my category), and art displays. We hold it at the Penang Performing Arts Centre. It’s a great event. My original musical, “Boardwalk Melody”, will be debuting during that week this year. More on that later.

The art department approached me a while back and said they they were going to make a replica of the Sistine Chapel. It will be about 8ft high, 12×8 ft in measurement. The young artists are working on recreating Michelangelo’s masterpieces for the ceiling, as well as a few of the other murals. The art department wanted me to write some dramatic sketches which could be performed in the chapel during the festival in order to help them understand the works.

I readily agreed and then quickly asked my writing buddy Jackie to see if she wanted to write one of the sketches while I took the other three. She agreed. And now they are all complete. I just finished editing Jackie’s sketch this afternoon, and it’s a fine script called “Reluctance”, it pairs Moses with Michelangelo as they banter back and forth talking about the art. It’s a fun dramatic piece that everyone will enjoy.

Here are the brief synopses of the three that I wrote which focus mainly on Michelangelo’s works:

Sketch 1: “The Greatest Heavyweight Fight of the Ages: Almighty God vs. Nothingness” – this one focuses on his works of creation from the viewpoint of a boxing broadcaster and his color analyst. It will be fun and entertaining.

Sketch 2: “Apathy” – this one focuses on the creation of man and woman and banishment from the Garden of Eden. I focused this one on God’s attempt to reach man but man’s continual lackluster and limp-wristed efforts to reach back to God. The imagery of the limp wrist, of course, comes from Michelangelo’s iconic painting of creation of man. It’s a fairly poignant and interesting piece.

Sketch 3: “The Life of Christ in Verse” – this one focuses on Rosselli’s and others’ paintings on the life of Christ. I decided to do something different on this and wrote a lyrical, rhythmic chant which combines the imagery and meaning behind the four paintings: Sermon on the Mount, Delivery of the Keys, The Last Supper, and The Temptation of Christ.

I really enjoyed writing these. I’ll be working with some of the actors over the next five weeks as they prepare for the mini-shows. It’s going to be a lot of fun and will bring some meaning and drama to the Sistine Chapel.

If you are going to be in Penang the week of May 22, please come and check it out!

Drama Time!

I love August because that starts the next season of drama in my life. This past week we auditioned a bunch of students for three different productions this semester. The one I’ll be heading up is my beloved drama troupe – The RLT Players. We are back for our third season and have a fantastic line-up of dramatic sketches ready to roll with a show entitled: “Captured in Time & Space.” We also expanded to 12 members.  We have four shows at the Penang Performing Arts Centre in November. It’s going to be a great show.

The sketches. I wrote eight original sketches, mainly centered around certain important moments in an average person’s life. So it is a moment that is being ‘Captured in Time & Space.’  I’ll share some snippets from different sketches as we move along, but here are a few hightlights:

“Skydiver” – a comedy about commitment. A woman tells her friend that if she hasn’t married Richard in 5 years then she has to make her do something drastic like jump out of an airplane. Well, 5 years have passed and guess what they are doing?

“Light a Candle” – a tear-jerker of a drama. A little girl, who just lost her father, asks her mother why they light a candle for him. The mother explains that it’s a way to talk to her father in heaven. The play shows the girl growing up and remembering her father throughout many of her important life events.

“Black & White” – a rhythmic song/dance done inside a series of black and white boxes.

“Jerome, the Malevolent God-King” – a grandfather tells his granddaughter the story of how a little boy defeated the evil line of god-kings who dominated their country for centuries.

That’s a few of them. I’ve been involved in a lot of different dramatic productions, but for sheer enjoyment, nothing beats the RLT Players. Can’t wait to get started!

Nothing as Bleak as a Writer’s Confidence

I just finished a short 1500 word dramatic sketch entitled “‘No’ in Spite of Itself”. Now I can’t seem to shake those mixed feelings I have about it.

For a while, I had my doubts how effective it was going to be. It’s about a man, standing on the edge of a cliff, having a conversation with his alter ego. A couple days ago, I did a complete read-through envisioning how the characters would be saying their lines and just playing it up in my mind as much as possible. When I finished the read-through, I was excited and thought that this could be an interesting little sketch. So I felt satisfied.

Today I looked at it again and cringed. I’m really not sure if it is going to work the way I envision it. Grrrrr …

Back and forth with myself, once again, like I do all the time.

I keep telling myself to learn to trust my instincts. They’ve been pretty successful for a number of years when putting on various dramas. I’ve had plenty of people look at me strangely when reading through one of my scripts for the first time. I assure them that everything will work out. Trust me. (and then quietly I hope beyond hope that I’m right – , usually, I am.)

Will it work out this time for this particular dramatic sketch? I have no idea. But all I can do is polish it up as best I can and then give it a shot.

Doubt? Yes.

But it won’t stop me from moving forward. A writer who is not moving forward is soon to become a former writer.

I won’t have any of that.