Nov 20, 2009

Introducting. . .Shadow!

The Shadow Team: Year 1. These kids have the honor of being a part of the very first season of CAA's own drama ministry, Shadow. The nicknames will come as I get to know these kids better. In the meantime, I can identify my co-director, Mrs. Wayna Gray, in white on the right. All the members of the team are present in this photo taken at the end of our retreat, Sabbath, October 31, 2009, except for two. One boy had to leave early, and the other was out of town that weekend and was unable to attend.

It's been a new chapter in so many ways for me this fall. So much of what I've known for the past decade or more is now a memory. And yet so much of my new life here in America carries echoes of the old life in Saipan. I'm in another small Adventist school with 70-odd students, many of which are not Seventh-day Adventist. I'm teaching another 8th grade class, helping them fundraise for their class trip in the spring. I'm once again one of the few men on a mostly female staff. And, now once again, I'm co-directing a team of young and enthusiastic thespians--Columbus Adventist Academy's brand new drama team, Shadow.

People asked me if I would continue REAL Christian Theater in the states, and I always said no. REAL belongs at the Saipan SDA School--in my view it shouldn't be transplanted or restarted elsewhere. REAL is special--it can't be replaced or replicated. But I always had a sense that I would start a new drama ministry at my new school--one that would be uniquely CAA, special in it's own right. I thought I'd wait a year or so, to get a feel for things at my new school, but I guess God had other plans. And so Shadow was born.

We held auditions in mid-October and the kids who came out blew us away with their creativity, energy, and talent. On October 31st, we held our first retreat at in the school cafeteria. It was an all-day affair, from 9 in the morning until 7 in the evening, with the emphasis on teambuilding, drama workshops, and most importantly, a spiritual focus for the year. Ten kids made it to the retreat, and they became the official new drama team, joined later by one more student who was out of town the weekend of the retreat.

After the retreat, we began meeting for rehearsals every Friday afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30 in my classroom, and last Friday we finally settled on a name for our team--Shadow. The name references many things--God's Light, for example, casts a shadow: us! We seek to remain in the shadow of the cross, under the shadow of His wings. And of course the whole idea of shadows has a uniquely theatrical feel to it as well. I'm excited to see how Shadow will reflect God's light and love on stage in the months and years to come.

This year's Shadow team consists almost entirely of 5th and 6th graders. We have only one older student, in 7th grade. This is great because it means we'll have three or four years together as a team to work together and hone our skills. It also means a team that is literally bursting with excitement and energy--which is great, but can also sometimes be bit draining! Still, I love the kids in Shadow, and I look forward to seeing them grow in their performing abilities and even more importantly, in their love for the Lord.

Pray for our team this year as we seek to be His shadow!

Three "Shadows" work on creating an original skit during the retreat, October 31, 2009.

Another group of three Shadow actors working on their skit.

Two "Shadows" taking a break during the retreat. The girl in the yellow is our youngest member. She is in either third or fourth grade--I can't remember which. Shadow auditions were open to all students in grades 3-8. This girl was the only 3rd/4th grader to make the cut.

Two "Shadows" perform their skit for the group.

Shadow circles up for some team sharing.


Mai said...

Wow, that's really great!! I miss being a part of a drama ministry and the creativity that flows out from it! I don't know if I could start something like that here, but I should keep it in the back of my mind. But I did use "For God So Loved" with my class when we had to do a presentation at a church and it turned out pretty good! But I still hear Joy, Tali, you and Bev in the various parts!!

Ken & Crystal Pierson said...

Looks like Shadow will be another amazing witnessing tool for God! Praise the Lord for your leadership to share His love through drama.