3/2/08

Sibling Saturday and Sacred Sunday: Theater Draws Me Closer to God


Write about an experience you had in the theater

that helped you grow into a better person.


As I contemplated this week on Raymond Pert’s sibling assignment, I realized there wasn’t one particular experience in the theater that helped me grow into a better person, but the ongoing experience as a whole.

And to me, it was coming to the place where I wasn’t performing to make myself look good, or to receive great accolades, but to be a servant to the performance, and realize it is much bigger than just me.

My life in the theater is a very spiritual experience, because I see it as a way of letting God work through me to touch others in a unique and special way. Often it is by sharing joy and laughter, which can be a very healing moment, not only for the audience, but for myself as well.

Acting, and creating a character, is a process that allows me to listen to what the character has to say, and letting that come through my performance.

It also is a way to work with the other actors on stage, and help them give the best performance they can give.

Theater is one of the best ways to tell a story, and story is the way to convey truth. Why do you think Jesus consistently used parables throughout His ministry as a way of telling the people about the Kingdom of God?

A book that is full of revelation about the creative process was written by Madeleine L’Engle, and is called “Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art”. I have adopted many of her philosophies about art in my life, and in the way I view the creative process. Here is an excerpt from this book where L’Engle shares about being a servant to the artistic work.

When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to the work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew; Rembrandt’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend.
When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.
But before he can listen, paradoxically, he must work. Getting out of the way and listening is not something that comes easily, either in art or in prayer.
Before I can listen to God in prayer, I must fumble through the prayers of words, of willful demands, the prayers of childish “Gimmes”, of “Help mes,” of ‘I want…” Until I tell God what I want, I have no way of knowing whether or not I truly want it. Unless I ask God for something, I do not know whether or not it is something for which I ought to ask, and I cannot add, “But if this is not your will for me, then your will is what I want, not mine.” The prayers of words cannot be eliminated. And I must pray them daily, whether I feel like praying or not. Otherwise, when God has something to say to me, I will not know how to listen. Until I have worked through self, I will not be enabled to get out of the way.
Someone wrote, “The principal part of faith is patience,” and this applies, too, to art of all disciplines. We must work every day, whether we feel like it or not, otherwise when it comes time to get out of the way and listen to the work, we will not be able to heed it.

To bring laughter and joy to others is an incredible honor. Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit, and to share it with others is a way to share God’s love.
Over the past four years that I have been involved in the Sixth Street Theater in Wallace, it has helped me become more confident in who I am as a person. I have become artistically more courageous, and, in many personal areas, I felt like I have had the courage to take more risks.
It helps when you collaborate with a wonderful group of people who share their love and encouragement with you, which then helps you to grow as a person.
I love being a part of this theater, and, through this experience, have learned to take the gifts God has given me to share them with others, and to help spread some light and Truth into others lives as well.


Inland Empire Girl's theater experience is here, and Raymond Pert's will be here.

3 comments:

Jojo said...

Okay... Wow! This is a book I really need to read. I need to get back to being the servant of the work. Listening is the hard part for me. Trying to silence all the external voices, and internal ones too, if I'm honest.

Well, I'm inspired. I just started working on a new artistic outlet. I hope it does for me what theater has done for you!

Inland Empire Girl said...

I really liked your post on the theater. You are fortunate to have such a wonderful group of people to collaborate with.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

This post has really given me a lot to think about, since I have placed my writing on hold.