artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
At St Andrew's Leytonstone this summer we're hosting Mystery Plays as an organ fundraiser.

I've made an initial list of ten plays (playlets really). The idea is to have all of these covered by the beginning of June, after which if more people want to join us they're welcome and we can expand.

Various local groups have expressed interest in participating and I'll be approaching them this week to see what they'd like to do. In the meantime, if anyone reading this wants to take on a play, either with a few friends or in an already-established group, please let me know!

You don't need to be a church-goer or a Christian to take part, or to be available for loads of rehearsals. There will be a wide range of groups taking part, from (I hope) the local Scouts to semi-professional actors, and I expect that the style and presentation of the plays will vary accordingly. You do need to be able to get to St Andrew's Leytonstone on Saturday, 20th July for the performance, and you need to be able to rehearse on your own. You can use a traditional rhyming script (please remove the anti-Semitism if you do: if you're not sure about this, I can help), or make up your own, or we can provide you with a modern-language script for some of the scenes listed here.

Don't worry about there not being enough space: once these ten playlets are covered, we can always expand, so if you want to take part you won't be displacing anyone who has already registered their interest.

1. Creation -- Eve and Adam | this play is now TAKEN
2. Flood -- Noah
3. Exodus -- Moses
4. Ruth
5. Nativity
6. Baptism of Jesus
7. Last Supper
8. Crucifixion & Death of Jesus
9. Supper at Emmaus
10. First Pentecost

I know this leaves a lot of holes in the story: we will have a narrator (or a few narrators) who can fill in the gaps, so that e.g. Jesus doesn't go directly from being baptised to the Last Supper without anything happening in between!

If you'd like to take part please contact standrewsorganappeal at gmail dot com or leave a comment here with contact details (all comments will be screened until I'm told otherwise).
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Some of my witterings about a script for the Leytonstone Mystery Play.

I'm thinking of something in two or three acts, each of which is made up of several short sketches, vignettes, whatever you wnat to call them. This patchwork structure means each short section can be assigned to a particular "guild" or group of people, either existing community groups or bunches of people who decide they want to play. But we'll need to know what we're going to perform, and we'll need to issue at least rough script outlines, if not actual script, to the various groups.

So we're looking for anywhere between eight and fifteen self-contained sketches telling Biblical stories.

That could be very disjunct. Things that I think may help with disjunctness:
-Have some kind of theme for each "Act". This could be fairly broad e.g. "Redemption" but we might do better with something narrower.
-Between each scene, sing a verse or two with a refrain. The idea is that the scenes can be summarised in the verses, and the refrain can be the same in each Act or perhaps over the whole thing.
-Have a narrator who can summarise scenes and introduce the next. For groups who don't want a lot of speaking parts the narrator could be quite heavily involved in the scene, too.
-Encourage visual coherence by having a few stock backdrops and using them for each scene (as appropriate)

I'd quite like to feature some women and girls in these stories, people like Sarah, Miriam, Esther, Ruth, Mary... but I don't want to be too obvious about it, I don't want to advertise this as a feminist thing, just get on with it. But it would be good if, without re-writing the Bible, at least some scenes could pass the Bechdel test.

I'm wondering whether a good starting point would be to take some existing Mystery Plays, go through and cut out the scenes or stories that are anti-Semitic, and then decide which additional scenes we might have.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Saturday night someone on Twitter said something about Mystery Plays, and I had the idea of hosting/holding one at St Andrew's during the Leytonstone Arts Trail. People I've spoken to so far seem keen, though it will have to get PCC approval (January) to go ahead.

Notes from a meeting with [personal profile] eithin yesterday:

SCRIPT -- we'll need one. There isn't an extant local script of which I'm aware. This means we have to get to write one. We can crowdsource it online, but will need to make some decisions about what to include. Maybe look at existing Mystery Play scripts and cut out the bits that are anti-Semitic or terrible, and then add a few scenes of our own? Different scenes/plays/sketches will be assigned to different "guilds", that is, different community groups: maybe the Scouts would do one, certainly I hope that various AmDram groups that people at church are involved in would do some, groups from other churches could do stuff, and so on. How much do we let them write/re-write the script? They're all going to have differnet acting styles, so we'll need unifying stuff: a narrator, and some kind of thing for set changes -- I'm thinking of a song with LOTS of verses summarising scenes, and a refrain, something we can either set to a well-known hymn tune (please not Common Metre) or I can write something that will go with it.

COMMUNITY GROUPS -- will need script about 2 months beforehand. We can offer direction for inexperienced players, and some bits of rehearsal space-time, but hope to be fairly minimalist in this. We'll need to check in with people to see how they're doing, and have a contingency plan for no-shows and last-minute drop-outs, but we'll also need to promote this in such a way that people don't want to drop out!

One full rehearsal. One performance, this year.

At St Andrew's we have lots of divider screens. Canvas hung from those could make some good backdrops; other than that we don't need much set. People can dress simply (perhaps all in the same colour in each group), and use simple accessories/props for character identity (sashes, Mary could carry a lily/wear a blue headscarf, etc). We'll need to issue costume guidelines.

Admission by donation gets a simple programme with a summary of the plot and the words to the song(s). A souvenir programme should be available at £10 or £12 (donations to Organ Fund), shiny paper, sponsorship, history/background of Mystery Plays, other Leytonstone Arts Trail stuff, photographs photographs photographs!, and so on.

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I'm considering starting a DreamWidth community either for the entire thing or for script-writing, because I could see this getting very much more wordy than my general "scratchpad" use of this account is geared up for. Please do say if you want in. DreamWidth accounts are free.

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