Last night I went to see a kids musical production being performed in a church that was almost within walking distance of my house. We don’t have children in that age cohort anymore, but I wanted to be supportive and the proximity of last night’s show — the first of three performances — left me without excuse.
If you had come with me you might have seen a kids play with a couple of missed lines, several audio problems, and some awkward scene changes, but I saw so much more; so very much more.
Created to Create is an initiative of our local chapter of Youth Unlimited, formerly known as Youth for Christ. Their focus with this creative arts program is inclusive of kids normally younger than you find at any given city’s branch of YU. This was, I believe the third such show they’ve done, and the second one I’ve seen.
What struck me last night was the producer/director’s commitment to excellence. The whole program was, I’m told, something that was conceived in her mind over a year earlier and incorporated content from three different primary sources, plus some original dialog and the addition of humorous video inserts throughout the show.
One of those video clips was filmed in Lake Ontario; so it had to be shot at the beginning of rehearsals in September, with great faith that the casting would stay the same over six months later in April. Some actors played multiple roles — no small challenge — while others took on their parts rather convincingly, given that for some of them this was their first time in a dramatic production of this magnitude.
The thing that struck me the most was how, by the third and final act, these kids very much had their audience. The inside of the great fish was convincing, even if executed solely with Styrofoam pool noodles and black light. If you had been a neighbor or a relative of one of the kids and didn’t really know the Biblical story, there was enough of a message here that you got both narrative and practical application. In the finale, when ‘Old’ Jonah and ‘Flashback’ Jonah joined hands at the end to take their bow, I think the audience was fully aware of the thought and work that had gone into the production and completely convinced that the 90 minutes had been well worth their time.
We serve a God who inspires us with creativity. True, it hits some people more than others, but I believe we all have a measure of imagination inside us that can be used to inspire others.
Bonus item: Though not recorded at the show, here’s a song it contained, from the Newsboys: In the Belly of the Whale.