By Helen Murray
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What a wonderful word. “Attention”, it says. Something most amazing and wonderful is about to be presented before your very eyes. This something is worth the whole of your grasping. Such is its promise that you will be unable to take your eyes off it.
It brings to mind an actor coming out on the stage, able to take it by storm and command the attention of everyone. “Behold!” All eyes are turned toward him. Expectation rises; excitement and adrenaline course through the veins of the audience that has prepared for this experience for weeks. First there was the discussion with friends and family: “Shall we go to…?” Following came the agreement: “Yes, book the tickets.” Wow! What solidarity in anticipation! They accepted the hype – er, the promotion – and arrived at a plan to get right into the action, to be there.
Image is important, so dress with care. There’ll be coffee after the show and we’ll all discuss its merit or otherwise in a round table fellowship that will bring us together as fellow citizens of the theater. We’ll ask people if they have read the book. There is always more in the book than can be represented onstage, even though the stage can represent things in a way the book cannot. We can then consider how true to the author was the performance.
What? Too much drama for just a show?
Ha! But what if you are an actor in the audience? What if these are your fellow actors onstage, those you know and have worked with at different times? How does that alter your perspective? You know them intimately. They are your fellow thespians and your competition. How do you feel about going to the theater now? Auditions are coming up next month and you will be there with some of these same people, vying for a place. Will you measure up? What will happen to your hopes and dreams at those auditions? Will you be in line for a part, or will you be rejected? Will you please the director, or will you be left out in the cold?
Now you are at this performance to discover what this particular director is looking for, what pleases him. What have you got that will knock his socks off and get you the part? You are talented, schooled at Nida, Australia’s best. You have some connections, but are they the right ones? You are looking much more deeply into the show than the average outsider who just wants entertainment. Every move, every word, every nuance is critical.
You’ll go home and rehearse every one, imitate the best, add them to your artist’s portfolio. Yet you will never be identical with any one of those onstage. You will be yourself, ever expanding, ever more unique, displaying a distinctive identity for which you will become very famous – if you just get the nod for a part! The leading role? The character bit? The sidekick? The love interest? The villain? The clown? The stunt man? The extras? Or maybe you are a stage builder, or a stage hand, a make-up artist or a dressmaker and designer. It could be that you are on the promotions side of things, or theater management. There are a great many roles available, but though many apply, few are chosen.
Consider the director. He’s had to mortgage his house and everything he has to get this show on the road. He’s up to his neck – deeper than that – with the bank, and this show has to be a box office hit. He’ll select only the very best available to him. He’ll even go searching for some of his stars that don’t audition, and draw them in somehow.
Then he’ll pour out all of his thoughts and desires and directions for his actors, teach them how to grow into his vision, how to apply their unique skills to this particular production. He’ll stretch them beyond anything they’ve ever done before. In his mind, he has a picture of every single part that has to be played, and he’ll coach every player individually.
Sadly, there may be some who can’t connect with his dream. He’ll have to let them go. That is terrible. It makes the others feel nervous, but he wants to assure them that is not what he is about. Connection is paramount. Nothing else works. When they don’t connect, it’s a great disruption to the whole outfit, and not at all what he wanted. The bigger the part they were to play, the greater the disruption. The media like to get hold of such things and tear him apart for his bad management. Well, even bad publicity is valuable. It can only help the public awareness of the developing show.
Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely to be "found," to become his protégé? To be groomed for a specific role? It is a possibility - probably a bit far off though. To work alongside the director, being coached for this special role, being close to him, getting to know him and to share his thoughts, his perspective, even his whole dream, putting all one’s energies in his hands to bring out the unbelievably magnificent performance. What a privilege! What a prize.
To die for!
Jesus often said, “Behold! I make all things new.”
Where do I fit into His “Behold”?
The director’s play is a new item on the world stage – one of many. Jesus’ item is a new thing in eternity. The only one! There is only one chance. The auditions are on. It is open to me. Jesus is looking for His cast. He specializes in protégés. I’m going for a protégé role…
TO DIE FOR!
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