‘All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts’
… William Shakespeare
‘But who shall pen my script?,
Or who my part direct,
Or how shall I reflect
The glory of the Lord as I, my life do act
So why not let the Lord direct?
Dramatization of scripture is just another means of helping people engage with scripture and apply biblical concepts in the context of the world of today. Most importantly, it should not be used as religious entertainment, rather reflective engagement with scriptural principles. The principles followed in our dramas are as follows
- Narrate significant amounts of the passage of scripture being developed (either direct from one of the versions, or otherwise altering words or names to deliver the same meaning in a contemporary manner)
- They are primarily designed for use in a church service, hopefully to be part of a theme for the day.
- Keep the drama such that it can be acted out by adults or children and the message that it can equally be understood by both
- Aim to have a singular punch line at the end
- Discourage applause – lead directly from the drama into reflective atmosphere to allow people absorb what has been communicated
For ease of production and maximum impact, the following practical considerations have been adopted. In order to encourage use of dramas in church services, they should be easy to produce and not require major effort. While a high level of acting skills is not required, the dramas should be well produced and, in particular, be well read/spoken.
- Use of narrators and commentators minimise the amount of learning of lines. They (and in some cases, the actors) can have their script before them, so it then comes down to good expression. This also accommodates those who are good on expression and less on acting, and vice versa.
- Allowance is made for ease of production at the front of a church with minimum props to be put in place and where it can flow in a seamless manner in the service (with good direction)
- Length is aimed in general not to be more than 10 mins.
- Acting is kept simple and situations of actors (particularly children) hanging about on stage like spare tools are avoided. For those who need to remain on stage, find sitting positions or some activity.
- Amplification is beneficial provided it used properly by the actors. Narrators/commentators can be positioned in such places as pulpits or wherever there are fixed microphone points. Otherwise careful direction is required. It is often good to practice without microphones to encourage good voice projection.