Another opening night tonight. Enchanted April, at Taproot Theatre, opens tonight at 8:00 p.m.
It’s been a good process, a nice re-entry back into the world of acting after a two year hiatus. My role is small, but has enough in it to make it challenging, and I’m pretty sure I’m not really hitting the mark yet, at least not like I’d like. That being said, the experience of being on stage with long-time friends has been a God-send. The process of preparing a role is a much different process than preparing a sermon, and it’s nice to know that the message of the play is not up to me, though my role in it contributes to an audience’s overall understanding. Letting go of the final result, I can concentrate on the moments of contact with my acting partners, concerning myself with the moment-to-moment interchange that builds a single scene. There is a concentration in it that seems so familiar, a level of focus that I find exciting and freeing. So often I am grappling internally with the ongoing profundity of things, but in these moments, it’s just about the other, the emotional exchange, the physicality, and the lines. No need to save the world; just get to the next moment, responding to what it’s front of me.
Of course, all of this is predicated on getting cast in the play in the first place. And then there was the choice to move and live in the world of theatre and art, and before that, there was the training that begin leading in that direction. In other words, the freedom of the living in the moment is built on a series of decisions that are based on whatever I think it means to “save the world” from the context of who God has made me and what I think He is calling me to.
My point is simple: the moments of the day in regular, walk-about living are no different than my moments on stage, really. Letting go of results (leaving them to God), my role is respond to the demands and the needs in front of me, as God reveals them. Whether they are with family, friends, or strangers living in a poverty-stricken land half a world away, the moments present themselves one at a time, and as I have been prepared, I meet them. My trust in the director is paramount. In Enchanted April, I trust Karen Lund, the director, to lead me where she wants me to go. I also trust that I cannot see the whole play, therefore it is up to her to direct me and give me feedback that will help me stay within the world of the play. And while there are moments when I might disagree with a certain note she will give me, it is not my job is not to do punch holes in what she’s trying to do. My job is to bring the play to life according to her vision. However, I am no slave. There is collaboration. Karen depends on her actors’ nuance and creativity and discovery to contribute in ways that she cannot always predict. Her faith is in us as ours is in her.
I don’t know how far the analogy holds, but I know that as I go through my day today, I am not the director. And my notes from God might be somewhat different than my notes from Karen, but my trust is that they’re there. And as hard as I work to deliver on what Karen gives me to do, that effort should probably pale in comparison to the work I put in making sure the notes of God are put into play with the nuance and directions He tells me.
What I like about acting is that I don’t have to be in control. It is so clear that I am not. Life isn’t much different.
Just playing my part…