Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Filling A Much-needed Dearth In Christian Drama

The Bread of the Servant:
An Easter Play in Four Acts
Playwright: Elizabeth G. Honaker
Publisher: WestBow Press, Bloomington, IN, 2011                                                                     

It has always surprised me why more local churches are not involved in using a medium (i.e., the intervening agency or means through which impressions are conveyed to the senses) that can reach out creatively to today’s multi-generational audiences they have access to.  If one of the reasons for not doing so is the lack of good material, let it be said that Elizabeth G. Honaker continues on a mission to change that.
This play is her first of several that can provide a church, a school, or any Christian drama group with some excellent material with which to reach the world. You can learn more about her plays by googling her name “Elizabeth G. Honaker” and taking it from there.
The edition of The Bread of the Servant I read was much more than the plot of the play itself, with accompanying instructions for directing it.  What pleasantly surprised me was Honaker’s introductory part of the book where she covers some critical issues with respect to drama in the church.  She explains how this play (and others that followed) came about.  She deals with the issue of Sacred Imagination, something C.S. Lewis recommended as a tool for explaining the Gospel to a jaded world.  She helps any potential church drama directors with the issue of Getting Started.  She tackles the major topics that are potentially controversial with respect to drama in the church, and those are, the Place and Time of any production. I mean can we really have it replace a sermon and hold it on Sunday in the sanctuary?  The Intro also includes much needed and standard information on gaining Performance Rights and very helpful Production Notes. It ends with Honaker’s views on the importance of intention with respect to Christian drama. In summary, she says, “We want to glorify God in all we do; props and scenery, even acting, are all secondary to this purpose.”
The play (the star component of the publication) itself is most interesting. The main plot “revolves around the sacred memories” of the disciple John late in his life and a servant girl named Diana, who brought him his food.  John recalls scenes from Christ’s life, and as he does, the focus of the stage falls elsewhere and that scene is acted out by various other characters, many of whom are well-known Bible names – Lazarus and his sisters, the apostles, Mary Magdalene, Roman soldiers, etc.  The playwright has very creatively tied the story in the past that John was relating to the present in his effort to convince Diana to accept Christ as savior. I will leave the detailed link for readers to discover. Suffice it to say that this is the kind of stuff which makes for an interesting play.
This is a drama well worth reading for its face value and I highly recommend it to all who normally enjoy reading plays. But more than that, it is a great drama that can launch or re-launch the drama ministry of any church.  It will ignite the interest in the historical truth of Jesus Christ’s existence for many in the audience – both committed Christians and those that are invited to attend by them.

·      Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, June 13, 2017. www.accordconsulting.com

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