Theatre: A symbol of God at work

-Rev. Joanne Anquist/Photos by Valerie MacLeod

2018 May 11 Honk Dress Rehearsal McDougall 1015-1.jpg

One of the greatest things about being part of a church is the community. There are so many spaces in our lives that divide us and create barriers between people — we separate into genders, or ages, or economic status.

Our emphasis on individuality and making our own way in life can be alienating. But the church is more than a collection of Christians who believe in Jesus; at its best, the Church is the Community of Christ – the hands and feet of Christ in the world.  

It is always an inspiration to see a community functioning together – with common purpose and goals, the strong supporting the weak, each bringing their gifts and talents for the good of the whole. I think they provide a glimpse into how we’re supposed to be the Church. That’s why I love being part of theatre productions – it is a special kind of teamwork where there are many diverse roles, many different tasks to accomplish, varied talents and abilities – but each contributes what they have for the good of the group. In the process, something beautiful is born, some small grace is experienced, love flows.

That’s my experience of our musical production of HONK! that was on May 12 and 13, 2018 here at McDougall.  As a director, I particularly love seeing folk who have never tried anything like this in their lives, grow and adapt and become a new person. They have no idea what they can accomplish when they are loved and supported and, by the end (usually!), they have learned something about themselves and their own resilience that they can take into other areas of their life. “If I can get on stage in front of 150 people and sing a solo, memorize all those lines and learn dance steps, I can do anything!”

But the journey from audition to the bows on the last night isn’t without its challenges! For most folk, when you first dream about a show, you gloss over all the hard work: all you see is the joy of the stage. But then as you get closer to the performance, you realize you underestimated everything – the time it would take to learn parts, the effort it would take to build sets and props, your ability to find time to rehearse, the number of people needed behind the scenes to make sure everything happens – and on and on.  

In the last week, what is called “Rush Week” you begin with a sense of foreboding that you can’t possibly get everything together by the first performance.  But that’s when the magic starts to happen.  You have to pull together.  Day by day things fall into place – the lines are learned, the music is perfected (well not quite perfected!), the sets dry, the lighting is focused, the mics are in place and then – ta da – you did it!

But more importantly, WE put on a show together. In the process, you establish relationships with others in the cast and crew that go deep because you have to rely on each other to ensure the show’s success.

All this activity, this cooperation, these gifts we bring, are a symbol of the Realm of God among us.  If we could function this way in all our lives – bringing our best, building relationships, helping where we can, at all times with love, so much of this world could be different.

Until next year (maybe!) – thank you all for making HONK! such a success.

Joanne