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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: Opira dî pupi (Opera of the Puppets)
By Shayne Catoe


In 1689 a donkey pulled a cart over cobblestone streets in the little Sicilian village of Savoca. Allesandro, a hunchback, emerged from the back as a woman secured the reigns.

“Papa, the sun’s rising. We must set the stage before the people come, or it will not be affective.”

The old man slurred something, the girl seemed to understand.

Caterina climbed into the back of the cart and began changing into her blue velvet costume. Pulling a blonde wig over her curls, she emerged. Allesandro tugged on a rope inside the cart. The side of the cart went straight up, and part of the top opened. Velvet curtains matching Caterina’s dress decorated the side of the cart.

Allesandro and Caterina spent months on the roads that connected villages on the eastern coast of Sicily. Disguise was their element of survival, performances were their means of communication to the Sicilian people, and sacrifice was their chosen lifestyle.

Allesandro climbed awkwardly to the top of the wooden cart. Caterina climbed back inside to hand up the wooden marionettes. She took her place outside by the curtain waiting for Savoca, and the little wooden people handled by her father, to come alive.

Caterina prayed for God’s voice in her own. She prayed for Him to take the scales off the eyes of the people, and she prayed for safety. Soon many were gathered around waiting for a show. She smiled at curious onlookers, pulled the curtain back and began singing an original puppet opera, as the marionette Renato danced.

Dear Renato, Dear Renato
Come and see, come and see.
Valentino, has a plan
To see you free, see you free.

“I’ll not come, I’ll not come
For it could be, it could be
No more than, no more than
A plan of trickery.”

(Puppet Rosa enters)

“Do not believe, not believe,
I have heard he tells a story
‘til you grieve, ‘til you grieve
Your heart empty, empty!

Come with me, come with me
I’ll show you pleasures dreams,
Pleasures dreams, not empty.”
But Renato did not leave.

(Puppet Rosa exits. Puppet Valentino enters.)

“Dear Renato, Dear Renato,
Here are you, here are you.
I have something grand to show.
He has come to rescue you!

My Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
He is God’s Son who paid
Who paid the price, paid the price
For you to pray, be not afraid.

He is your substutite
Who died a bloody death,
Had no sins to repute
And forgave in His last breaths.

Dear Renato, Renato,
That is not all, that’s not all,
Or I would of this, of this forgo.
Christ died, then rose in awe.

So come to Jesus pray
At last, pray, repenting
Be not afraid or dismayed.”
“Valentino, I’m lamenting,

You are wise and I am not
And my heart leans to this man,
Who could clean the ugly blot
I feel inside and cannot stand.”

“Then let us kneel, let us kneel’
And you must ask God to make
You new in His family sealed,
Completed for His sake.”

(Enter Rosa)

Rosa laughed, Rosa laughed.
“Look they’re two praying fools.
I’ll take my wooden staff,
Beat and beat and ore’ them rule!”

Beating began, began.
Valentino prayed and prayed,
Renato ran and ran,
He was too scared to stay.

(Marionettes exit left and right)

(Valentino stumbles back on stage, wears half a jacket, tattered pants and one shoe. Its’ head is most disturbing. Little pieces of fuzz remain of the hair, no buttons, only cross stitches for eyes, a torn seam where the mouth had been. ENTER RENATO.)

Renato in time, There in time,
To catch this wounded saint.
“This must be my very crime
To always have this taint,

Upon my soul, upon my life,
That you should die, telling me
How to become Christ like.
I want so much to receive

This new birth, this new birth.
How shall I pray to be saved?”
“Ask Jesus to lift the curse
From the life in which you’ve strayed.”

“Yes Jesus, Forgive, forgive,
Lest be separate from Thee
I will give, I will give,
My dead, dark heart to Thee.”

(Renato’s eyes open, he sees Valentinos smiling face glimpsing up at him. Exit Renato stage left for help. Caterina Sings, “Aah…aah…aah.” Valentino floats up until he’s out of sight. Curtain closes.)

Clapping ensues, Tears well and fall. Soldiers in the crowd come forward to apprehend Allesandro and Caterina. This time they have not escaped for sharing the true gospel story.

*“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work.” John 9:4 (NKJV)

*“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (NKJV)

*Allesandro – “the defender of his own men”
*Caterina – “pure”
*Valentino – “after a life of faith and devotion”
*Renato – “bring him to life and call him by his name; born again”
*Rosa – “pride woman”

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This article has been read 554 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan03/13/08
This opened well, and it was very creative. Be careful to stay in the same tense--you opened in past tense and ended in present. I liked your setting tremendously.
Laury Hubrich 03/13/08
This was very creative. These puppeteers did make the most of their days for the glory of the Lord! Thank you for sharing this!
Celeste Ammirata03/13/08
This is very good. I like the rythym of the puppeteers story. A creative take on this weeks topic. Great job. Keep writing
Amy Clark03/14/08
As someone new to the faithwriters' website, I'm impressed by your creativity in merging narrative and drama (puppet lyrics). I'd encourage you to continue using your creativity to expand narrative. As you look over the narrative sections of your text, look for repeated words from one sentense to the next. Often the way to avoid them is to substitute synonyms using a thesarus. Also, during the editing process, I recommend recording yourself reading your narrative text aloud. When you play it back, listen for sentenses that begin in the same cadence (have the same rhythm). If you hear some, re-arrange their phrases so readers have a varied experience. These are aspects of improving my own writing which I need to remember to work on.
Holly Westefeld03/18/08
I enjoyed this immensely creative tale, which would shine even brighter with a bit more editing.
You really made me feel like I was there for the performance.
I look forward to your future entries.
Lyn Churchyard03/18/08
What a wonderful way of relating the topic. I loved the way you have used repetition to get across the feeling of the importance and urgency of the Gospel message. Caterina and her father are a great example of 'making hay while the sun shines' to bring others to Christ. I think you captured that with the line "Disguise was their element of survival, performances were their means of communication to the Sicilian people, and SACRIFICE WAS THEIR CHOSEN LIFESTYLE."
Karin Fiscaletti03/18/08
You know, my family comes from Germany and we used to watch our friends do marionette shows when we were kids. This brought back such great memories. It is well written,comming from some one who is a beginner and not one who writes poems, I'm not sure what that will count for, but I could follow it and even leaned forward in anticipation to what was going to happen next! Very good work!
Tim Pickl03/18/08
Wow! This is an excellent piece. It could easily be developed into a drama.
Jan Ackerson 03/18/08
I love this--don't believe I've ever seen something liek this on FaithWriters before. I like the way you framed the puppet opera in a brief narrative.

Be careful with the tenses--the narrative part should have been all in past tense.

I love the rhythm and repetition of the opera. Excellent!
K. J. Cash03/18/08
I can't believe I'm reading in the beginners section! I was involved in the puppet ministry for many years. I wonder how I ever got away from that. You have inspired me. What imagination, what creativity, what inspiration! This is outside of the box for sure. Brilliant and wonderful!!! Thank you so much!
Henry Clemmons03/18/08
I don't give awards, but if I had one for creativity, I'd tattoo a blue ribbon right on this. Very brave. I liked the feel of the piece. The title set the tone, which the first of the story had trouble keeping up with, but when it caught up, it became almost brilliant. Keep working, I am very impressed. I doubt you'll be in Level One for long.
Joshua Janoski03/18/08
A very unique entry for this week's topic. This look like it took a lot of work to think up and write. Good job! Keep on writing!
Chely Roach03/19/08
The was wonderfully creative...well done. I am anxious to see what you have for us next time!
Marlene Austin03/19/08
Unique. Very nice, appears to be some musical training here. :)
jodie banner03/19/08
This was very good. I definately see you placing well with this entry. I can't wait to read your future entries.
Mandy White03/19/08
Wow, so creative. Keep up the good work!
Debbie Wistrom03/19/08
This feels real to me on many levels. Much talent and creativity here. KEEP WRITING and thanks for the brick or I might have missed this touching entry.
Sara Harricharan 03/19/08
Oh WOW! This is neat! A favorite of mine this week. So creative with puppets and lyrics. You did really well with the merging and getting it all to read so well. I felt sad at the end that they didn't get away and the soldiers came. But they did what they could to spread the good news-well done! ^_^