Okay, but I didn’t want to write a play. A play has conflict, drama, and a resolution, and I didn’t want any conflict in the project. I selected instead to write a skit with a nod to Charles Shultz’s famous cartoon, where Lucy plays a psychiatrist. In my skit, I have various members of the congregation come to the “Psychiatrist in Residence“ and ask questions about the history and heritage of the church. She along with her Number 1 Assistant give advice. The skit runs about 35 minutes on the page, but at rehearsals, it’s moving toward forty. We’re working on pacing.
We have a cast of fifteen, and each person has gotten into her or his role… often adding lines and ad libbing. I don’t mind a bit because their lines round out the skit and add freshness to it. I have enjoyed the rehearsals, and the whole is coming together rather well.
On Sunday, September 15th, after a very brief service, the performance will be held in the Sanctuary after the benediction, a captive audience.
What have I as a writer, playwright and erstwhile director learned? I learned I love this sort of experience. I learned that a cast of fifteen can be unwieldy. but in our case, unlike a general performance, when one person can’t attend a rehearsal, we are not lost. One important member was dusting her house and fell into her fireplace. She broke four ribs and cracked a bunch of others. Our main Psychiatrist is a popular, busy school girl thus our rehearsals have to accommodate her cheerleading, band, and work schedules. Two young cast members are in band, Scouts, and other school activities. Several members work, albeit others who are retired and need to schedule rehearsal times around their grandchildren’s activities. I have a real estate person, a hospital employee, a retired principal, a retired teacher, a retired administrator, and a retired Daycare Director. I have a chef, a musician, and a homemaker, and oh yes, the Mayor of our town. I have an artist and a Minister of the Word. There is good enthusiasm which makes rehearsals fun.
I learned also that props have to be engineered, the sound system has to work, and appropriate publicity has to be written. Unlike the theater community, where fund raising is a big necessity, I can enjoy the fact that this is a one-time production. The saying “break a leg” is apt, but in my case with broken ribs and retirement activities, I won’t whisper that suggestion.-- not a whisper.