The Christmas Eve package that we purchased had a drama in it, but upon review, our team was not crazy about it. So we rewrote the majority of it.
The original drama took place in a village and the main point was the importance of telling stories, because it stories help us see God working.
We kept certain elements, like the main point of the story, the setting (a village) and a bell (what calls everyone together) and a narrator reading the story to the kids. We pretty much threw out everything else.
Sabrina had the idea for the kids to interact with the narrator, and I went hunting online to see what made a good story. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to write stories, and gradually the elements of a good story came up through the hazy cobwebs. Some things to incorporate were:
- A reason to cheer for the protagonist. We wanted people to like the main character. Why should they?
- A villain. Everyone loves a good villain. The original story was a bit vague and we decided we needed a person. In the end it was more of a villain plus some things, but there was definitely something concrete people could point out.
- A turning point. The main character needed to make a critical decision, which on some part would require sacrifice.
I sat down and wrote a draft of a story that was more humorous and also incorporated some thingabobs that the villagers would all be focused on. Albert came up with the brilliant idea of calling them iThings. Along the way, David Cripe, the director, added his own humorous lines. Carmel Stewart came up with amazing props that were way better than anything I could have thought off. Matt Robbins added some funny interpretations. Each actor came up with their own personality. The end result was really the product of a team effort!
In the end, the story is told by a narrator…
about a boy named Joey…
who lives in a village where everyone tells each other stories about what God does in their lives…
until a man named Terrance comes to town and convinces everyone to get as many iThings as they can.
Soon everyone is so focused on their iThings, they forget to tell stories and forget about God working in their lives.
Along the way, Joey discovers a rope that used to be attached to a large bell that would call the community together to tell stories but no longer works…
is tempted to focus on iThings…
makes a decision to deny the temptation…
discovers how to ring the bell…
and helps the village realize that they have forgotten to focus on what is truly important.
This drama then transitioned to a video that said the testimonies that follow are real stories of people in our community, and some people got up and shared stories of how God was real in their lives.
I don’t know about you but I think it’s always fun to hear about the behind-the-scenes stuff that went on, so here are a few things most people do not know regarding the drama:
- The drama team only had two weeks from initial reading to final performance because they couldn’t start until after the Christmas concert.
- David Cripe had only a few days to learn all his lines due to a final casting change the final week. He went from 6 lines to speaking during the whole drama.
- We asked many people to be villagers but no one could do it so the villagers ended up being family members of people who were in the Christmas Eve program. (We had a few families where every single member was involved in the Christmas Eve program in some way or another!)
- Some of the people had never been in a drama before and did a fantastic job. Such hidden talent!
- Initially we wanted people to wear bright, colored shirts but only one person had one! I guess dark earth tones are in these days. Somehow they cobbled together clothing that totally worked.
- The actors did more than act. They had to set up and take down the set, bring on and take off props, and some had to do other elements in the service as well. All those things in addition to remembering lines, where to walk, where to look, pacing and speed and many other things were a lot of things to all learn in two weeks!
- The actors didn’t have a chance to actually have all three village houses in the set to work with until the actual day of the Christmas Eve services because during dress rehearsal the last house was still drying.
- We had the hardest time trying to find a large rope that looked exactly like the rope in the video that Willow provided in the package. (The video transitioned the drama to the live testimonies afterwards.) He asked farmers, stores, and checked online. There were thin ropes, red ropes, black ropes and yellow ropes, but no large brown rope. In the end, he found a large brown rope in Sacramento and upon picking it up, the guy there shared his faith with Glen — he was a Christian!
- I was so struck by the humility of the people involved… they were there to serve, even through challenging circumstances. People had great attitudes through it all.
- There was a lot of prayer that went behind the writing, planning, and decision-making for the drama. The Lord pulled it all together!