God and The Arts

Part 1: The Theatre

Written by: Kevin Stone

The Theatre as a Sanctum

Theatre is a collaborative art. That is, theatre is an art form that owes its existence to the cooperative, concerted efforts of many artists working together to reach a common goal. Theatre is a medley of talents, experiences, and artistic visions, and when it's done right, it is strikingly beautiful. A moving mélange of creativity.

Drawing Back the Curtain

Actors, those masters of panache, able to breathe multi-dimensional life into page-bound personalities, usually receive the most attention in a play. Undoubtedly, they are the most visible of the artists involved. But every production requires more than just actors. In fact, no one would ever see an actor without a lighting technician to illuminate the playing space. Technicians are the quiet luminaries who ensure the unfolding action of a play is both seen and heard.

A quality play production requires an assortment of competent behind-the-scenes personnel. The prop masters, with their ability to create ex nihilo, are important, but where would they be without the stage hands to move the props for each scene? A costume designer, with his intuitive knowledge of color and texture, is important, but what good is a talented costume designer without an equally talented seamstress? Even the director must rely on the playwright's script to order the proceedings. Scene designers, scene painters, and scene stealers, grips, gaffers, and gofers — they all have their place as part of the whole.

Simply put, theatre is a harmony of gifts, a potpourri of techniques. What the audience sees is the tip of an artistic iceberg. "The play must go on!" but it cannot without an agreeable congruency backstage.

Life Imitates Art

The inner workings of a theatrical production provide an apt metaphor for the life of a healthy church. Consider God as the Producer and Playwright, and His script is the inspired Word of God — a masterpiece, to be sure.

In our metaphor, then, the pastor is the director, and he is responsible to faithfully interpret the Script and encourage the troupe. Our Playwright has provided us with a forward-moving plot, and we must know and follow the Script He has provided. There are certain lines to learn by heart and speak with conviction.

As we move in and out of the spotlight, or as we work backstage, we each rely on the others our Producer has wisely assigned to various roles. Our function may differ, but our value does not. In the church, the "least of these" is as important as the most recognizable "star." There is no room for prima donnas. A good director will see to that. In the end, our Lord receives top billing, and He alone deserves the ovation. His church is to be a harmonious, if eclectic, assembly of Spirit-filled believers intent on staging God's message.

If all the world's a stage, then we each have a part to play. May our performance be truly inspired.

Image Credit: Joe deSousa; "Main stage of the Palais Garnier, Paris"; Creative Commons

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Published 2-7-2012