Hold the Applause
I started the year working on two productions, both with schools. Rehearsals were suspended with the closures of the schools, and at this point have not been re-scheduled. To be fair, they also have not been cancelled, as so many others have. I maintain hope that we will pick up where we left off or make another attempt at the productions when things get back to business as usual. At least, I am trying to. I confess, as the closures extend, I am finding it difficult to keep the faith.
My teams were working so hard to put these productions up. Everything stopped so abruptly. The kids learned lines, songs, and choreography. The parents gave up weeks of time to paint and build sets, props, and costumes. We were working towards a goal - a chance to present a story to our friends, family, and community. Then suddenly, nothing. It's hard not to feel all that time and work was wasted.
Art is communal. The ingredient that turns a rehearsal into a performance, and thus, art, is the audience. Sharing the show is the payoff for the mad rush of tech week, the labor-intensive work of visualizing a script.
If a tree is known by its fruit, what is an actor known by? The performance? The applause? The work of an artist is easily tangled up in the pursuit of fame. After all, fame brings name recognition and money - two things an artist needs to make a living in the world of art.
To put it another way, if it's not posted on social media, did it really happen?
I do believe there is purpose and glory in work that only God sees.
We actors who are believers need to keep an eternal perspective. A good performance is not the goal we are working towards. We honor him with the process of creation, our conduct in rehearsals, and the relationships we build.
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. - Luke 12:33
The earthly glory of a performance is short lived, but many things come out of the rehearsal process: character development (on and off stage!), community interaction, gospel living. Nothing is wasted when God is the center of our lives.
"You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith — more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7
The show can't always go on the way we want it to.
Young Hadassah did not know being stolen from her life would put her in a position to help her people when an enemy threatened destruction (Esther 4:12).
Jonah did not know his attempt to flee from the presence of the Lord would result in leading pagan sailors to worship the Creator of the universe (Jonah 1:16).
The sons of Jacob did not know that selling their youngest brother into slavery would eventually mean survival from famine and the relocation of their family to Egypt, part of God's redemptive plan for all of humanity (Genesis 50:20).
"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12