Backyard Plays and Backstage Secrets Pt. 2 – Drama Team Calvary Temple Sterling VA

I’ve been a member of Calvary Temple Church in Sterling VA for over 25 years now.  We are passionate about reaching the lost and encouraging the Believers in our community.  We have many Events throughout the year to spread the Gospel.  I hope you find the following story to be a blessing.

The process of putting on a play is very involved.  First we need to define the Biblical principles from the recent teachings that we want to cover.  Then we need a story to wrap them in.  Coming up with a story usually begins with Rich pitching a super hero parody which will be immediately rejected.  Then moves into shooting each others various ideas down for a couple of weeks.  Finally, an idea takes off that causes the group to laugh hysterically and we know we have our story.

The next phase is the script.  Here is where the prayer begins.  The writing team usually has a rough draft ready in a week or two.  Then we sit down for table reads.  Since the drama team acts up so badly during table reads we usually get a few good jokes to add to the final script over these next couple of weeks of meetings.

Once the script is finalized we pass out parts, begin building sets, collecting props and costumes, and memorizing lines.  Sometimes you have a LOT of lines to memorize.  An hour long play is about thirty pages of script.  If you’re the lead you have a lot of work ahead of you.  Work that’s done in your own free time.

Guided by the Force

Our Production of Guided by the Force

Five weeks before the production we begin blocking out.  Blocking out is the process of figuring out your actions and placement on stage.  Without blocking out everyone would just stand around and say lines.  Our stage was not designed for theater.  It’s very wide but shallow so it is a huge difficulty to put on a proper play with so little space to move around in.

Three weeks before the production we have technical rehearsals where we go off book and begin working with props.  Going off book means you should have your lines completely memorized – no more script – and you’re moving around on stage acting our your scenes.

One week before production is our dress rehearsal week.  This is where everything is complete.  Lines are memorized, backdrops are finished, the set is built, the props are ready, the costumes are finished.  Everyone knows what they’re doing.  Anyone on the drama team who might be reading this right now is rolling on the floor laughing.  The point of dress rehearsal is to practice the play until it is muscle memory.  Our dress rehearsals are usually disasters where we discover what is broken, doesn’t fit and isn’t memorized.  Because our Sanctuary is open for prayer every night until nine pm our dress rehearsals begin late and often go after eleven pm.


Opening Night

Sunday afternoon is our matinée performance/final dress rehearsal where we invite the ministry workers who can not attend that night to watch.  It usually goes very badly.  But then God shows up.  Time and time again we are amazed at how gracious our Heavenly Father is to give us abilities we didn’t have an hour earlier.  We pray for His anointing on the script, our acting, the audience, even the YouTube video that reaches the Body of Christ universal.  Our greatest blessing is getting just one good report that someone’s life was touched by the message.  That’s why we do it in the first place.

Here is the production of our most requested script – Ghosts of Christmas Past.  Our “ghosts” are from past (and one future) skit so our audience has seen these characters before.

And now Backstage Secrets Pt. 2

We built a replica of a DeLorean for a play titled Back to the Bible. Some of the pieces are actual DeLorean parts.  This isn’t really a secret as much as I just want to brag about it.

DeLorean back

 Many times we’re backstage listening to the audience reaction waiting for certain moments in the script we know are funny.

Sometimes the actors will change their lines during a performance just to make each other laugh.

I designed the backdrops to fit my height and later realized everyone else was an Amazon!  I had to add  another foot to the frame to cut down on the audience seeing everyone’s heads.

 Props have been broken backstage and quickly duct taped or substituted.  The actor usually finds out when they go onstage and have to act like nothing is different.

Sometimes the actors lines are written on their props.

Many times the poking fun of characters within a story is actually us making fun of each other in real life.  The moral of the story is: watch what you complain about in rehearsals.

We built a DeLorean, man!

DeLorean inside

We used a giant marshmallow instead of a rock for David and Goliath because we didn’t want to hurt anyone.  Only we never swapped out the marshmallow during all the rehearsals.  By the time we performed the skit it was so hard left a welt on Goliath’s head.

A couple of the actors can do impressions and will often morph in and out of various celebrities and even other drama team members as they say their lines in rehearsals.

 One dress rehearsal fell on April fools day and the drama team acted like they didn’t know any of their lines just to trick me.  It worked.

 We find it hilarious to hear the audience laughing at things that aren’t supposed to be jokes.  We look at each other backstage like “what in the world?”

We wrote an entire musical about relationships that has never been performed.

Once i had to blow up like Violet the Blueberry from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Everyone asks how we did it.  That will just have to stay a secret.

If you have any questions about the skit team or our skits please leave me a comment below.

About Calvary Temple

Calvary Temple is an independent church which holds to all Assemblies of God tenets of faith. Calvary Temple ministries include Discipleship Training, adult Bible college, media ministry, and an aggressive missions program.

Pastor Star R. Scott is Senior Pastor of Calvary Temple in Sterling, Virginia, where he has ministered since 1973. In addition to the pastoral gift, Pastor Scott functions in the five-fold offices of apostle and prophet. He has planted churches, and currently oversees the pastors and ministries of numerous satellite churches.

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