This is Godspell week for my daughter and me. Opening night is Friday and we are completely immersed, buried, obsessed with it. I can’t remember any activity with which I have been involved that has brought me more joy than this production. I plan to write about Godspell this week here on my blog…mostly as a way to document and remember this experience. I am already feeling sad that it will be all over on Sunday, but I am trying to delay that grieving and focus instead on savoring the moments that we have left to experience.
As is the case with most of my favorite things in life, the joy of Godspell is all about the people. Our cast has become like a big family. I don’t have enough theatre experience to know if that is always the case when you work this many hours together on a production, or if this closeness is something special. The fact that our cast ranges in age from 10 to 50 probably enhances that feeling. This experience is also unique for me in that my 13 year old daughter and I are doing it together. After 10 or so years of cheering her on during dance recitals, music performances and sporting events, I am actually having the opportunity to enter the experience with her and be on her “team.” It is something I will treasure forever. We have to be careful when we are at home with her dad and sister not to speak a special Godspell “language” that only we can understand…talking incessantly of this funny thing from rehearsal or what we thought of that particular scene. Someday, I hope I will have the chance to experience something similar with my younger daughter.
The older teenagers that I have gotten to know during these months of rehearsal have calmed any fears that I might have had about the upcoming adolescent years with my girls. They are all precious… smart, funny, polite, committed, responsible…each of them a pleasure to know. The two young men that play the main roles, Jesus and Judas, are two of the nicest kids I have ever met. Boys of 16-17 are often not seen in the best light…Garrett and Nick renew my faith. They are both incredibly gifted actors and musicians, but more importantly, they are kind, giving, responsible young men. It has been my absolute pleasure to watch them make these roles their own.
Most of these young people had way more theatre experience that I did going into this production and I have learned so much from watching them. Our director, Zoe, is their drama teacher at the high school and she is my absolute hero. She probably spends more time with these kids than they spend with their parents and she doesn’t take that responsiblity lightly. Watching her work with them, work with all of us, has been one of the great joys of this process. Clearly, she is interested in the final product that we are trying to create, but even more clear is her committment to each of those kids as growing human beings. Harnessing the energy of a bunch of theatrical kids, teens and adults takes a very special person and we are blessed to have found that person in Zoe.
I wish I could say a little something about each member of the cast and I wish I could tell you why every song from the show is special….we’ll see how much time and energy I have this week for writing! For today, a good place to end is with the lyrics to the song Day by Day. Being that I am a big fan of bumper sticker theology, you can’t get much simpler and clearer about our walk with Jesus than this song that is sung early in the show. In our production, it is sung by a lovely young lady named Sammy. I have had the privilege of watching Sammy grow up in our church….she was probably around 9 or 10 when I first met her. She is 16 or so now and she is every parent’s dream for their daughter. Beautiful, but not in an affected, overly self-conscious way….smart and comfortable with adults, but always with respect….stong and sure in her faith, but in a way that draws the other teens in, not alienating them with self-righteousness or religiousity. I believe it is because of Sammy that the “non-church” kids in our cast felt comfortable joining a church production. She is a natural leader that even we adults felt comfortable following. Sammy was the perfect choice to sing this song because she exudes the combination of innocence and maturity that this song seeks to communicate.
Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
You can’t get much simpler and clearer than that. With each new day, open my eyes to Your glory, open my heart to love You more, show me the path to follow You…Lord, hear our prayer!