Normally at this time of year, Sunday mornings are dedicated to Christmas Play rehearsals – singing, learning lines, trying on costumes, setting up risers. When the day comes, there is both excitement and nervous energy. After a final run through and snack, it is time for the Play! Everyone hopes that they remember their parts.
During a pandemic, none of the “usual” ways of doing things are possible. 2020 has shown us that over and over!
Yet, telling the Christmas story is at the core of who we are and what we are about as Christians. Thus with some creativity and new approaches, that is exactly what the kids of Prince of Peace are doing in 2020!
“Making Room” is the theme for this year’s virtual Christmas Play. Everything is new and different – and that has some advantages.
The sheep, shepherds and angels actually get to be out in a field. The shepherds discovered that sheep run away – even when they are kids playing sheep! One of the parents responded, “Yes, sheep run away. You’re a shepherd so it is your job to keep track of them.” Being a shepherd chasing down sheep is quite a different experience than standing in front of the sanctuary with a shepherd costume on.
The play opens and closes with the narrators’ scenes, which were recorded on Zoom.
For the other scenes, people were scheduled to come in and record in the sanctuary, one family at a time. By using the new “green screen” some participants in a scene can be recorded at one time, and others at another. Then Chris Thornton, who is doing the editing, puts it all together with various backgrounds. Through this “magic” Ben and Elliot Miller, for example, play King Herod and three wisemen in the same scene!
Through the same technology, angels can fly and appear out of nowhere. Isn’t that what they do when they say, “Fear not?”
Through this process, the kids got to experience the drone flying overhead to record, as well as the teleprompter and headset mikes. The sanctuary looks more like a recording studio than the place we used to worship together in person.
Music has also changed dramatically. There are no large group songs because that is not safe in a pandemic. Instead, individuals and siblings sing various songs. Other songs like “Away in a Manager” are sung by people at home and then “layered together” to create a choir.
Eighteen children and youth, ages 3 through 8th grade, are part of this year’s Christmas Play.
You are invited to watch the Christmas Play, which will premiere as part of worship on the 3rd Sunday in Advent – December 13, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. or anytime thereafter on the poproseville YouTube channel.