The hardest part about church drama’s or skits is the execution. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of grace when peers perform in front of their peers. So often the skit goes flat, too long or the acting wasn’t all it could be to make the lines really come to life.
Working with students and having four different drama teams this was always my toughest battle.
I found whenever I liked a script, cast the skit and said, “memorize this and we’ll make it you three will perform it next Wednesday” the excitement was initially there. The equipping process had begun, smiles were on the faces of the performers. All was good in the world!
Then Wednesday would come around and frowns would be on faces. Eyes looking to the ground and always it seemed would be, “I have the script half memorized . . . I think we need more time”.
It hit me the students need to be a success. They don’t have much available time to memorize a five page script so how can we have drama, how can it be a success and how can we really get a team together that can pull off some great visuals/slices of life?
It hit me one afternoon–I have these scripts. I have students who want to act. I cast the script. We read the whole thing together (much like television shows do where they sit around a table and just read the initial script for an episode). We took notes on what we liked, what lines we thought were cheesy, etc.
Then came the moment of truth:
- We read the first page only.
- I turned their scripts face down and I said boldy like Charlton Heston, “Act out page 1!”.
- They freaked.
- I stood my ground and said “act out page 1”.
- They did it. (it was all in their head, they just read it)
- We turned the page over. Looked at what they missed.
- Turned it over again. Acted and Added to page 1.
- Did the same thing with page 2,3,4 and 5.
We got a five page script done and acted out and in their “heads” in about an hour and a half. They performed it that Wednesday and it was more real, less cheesy- more of a slice of life than ever before because they made it their own and didn’t take anything home.
Over the years, this method has worked well for our students. It’s worked well with Tom and I as we travel the country and we find ourselves with a very “verbiage” heavy type script to get down.
It gets your team or a couple of really excited students involved and helps their ad-libbing skills. More to boot–they become fearless.
Listen to our podcasts for more drama tips at skitguys.com or itunes.