Consider the Stars
Faith-Based Drama Resource Hits Home
Livonia, MI June 1, 2012
A great story, like a catchy tune, sticks with you. It can quickly get under your skin and be impossible to forget. Stories have the power to mold character. They can be instructive, even critical, and, at the same time, entertain.
Consider the Stars’ stories include no superheroes or sorcerers yet succeed in capturing real conflict laced with a surprising amount of humor and surprise in the classic style of O. Henry. In the more dramatic works, “The Prisoner’s Task” and “Rachel’s Song”, the protagonists attempt to transform their respective opposition into heroes in true Dickens’ fashion.
Four of the stories of the Consider the Stars collection were part of a production entitled Act of God which was first produced in Branson, MO in 2005. The first sketch, “What’s in a Name”, depicts a morbid game show made up of recently deceased contestants. The game (which nobody wins) serves to further annoy the players who are oblivious to their own shortcomings. The comedy is enhanced by the invasive timing of sound effects which magnifies the chaos. Act of God’s final sketch, “The Battleground”, leads the reader on an adventure through a series of vignettes and cameo appearances by notable personalities. The underlying focus of the sketch exposes life’s distractions and reveals the most important issue human beings needs to address.
Many of Consider the Stars’ sixteen stories have seasonal themes. Five sketches fall into the Christmas category. Two sketches could easily be incorporated into a Good Friday or Easter celebration. “Resurrection Day Special Report” depicts the events leading up to and including Jesus’ crucifixion in a way suitable for younger audiences. The other stories in the collection deal with faith, hope, love, family, financial stewardship and the value of a good name.
Consider the Stars’ writer, John Lindsay, has acted and sung professionally for over 30 years. He has also written and produced several musicals, stories and songs prior to compiling this collection of his original faith-based one act plays.
Participation increases a sense of involvement. Each story is therefore followed by a short scriptural-based lesson plan. Director’s notes have also been added in order to allow them to be easily incorporated into any curriculum. Consider the Stars also offers a comprehensive analysis on the fundamentals of acting from a Christian perspective.
Each story may be simply read aloud or performed live to supplement an event or church service. The instructional chapters are worthwhile whether or not you consider yourself to be an actor. The section, “Encouragement and Criticism”, should be a prerequisite for every mentor. The chapters devoted to general acting techniques, certainly apply to those in the profession, but non-thespian readers who stay the course will likely benefit from the information as well.
Consider the Stars is more than a book on acting or a simple collection of faith-based sketches. Consider the Stars is a tool for character development which would be a valuable resource in any Christ-centered library.
Consider the Stars may be ordered through Author House, Barnes & Noble or Amazon and is available in hard and soft cover or as an e-book.
- All Things Christmas – Underscored with the glitz vs. substance theme, a shopper and store owner are pitted together with two distinctly different objectives. “All Things Christmas” shows one individual’s creative way to make a point, prove her faith and redirect someone else’s life for the better through some uncommonly good sense. (Christmas/Salvation)
- The Battleground – Derived from the Disciple’s Prayer as stated in Matthew 6:9-13, “The Battleground” takes the audience on a quest for the root of all evil, and is made up of several short vignettes and cameos by famous biblical and non-biblical personalities. (The Influence of Evil)
- Body Parts – When two less-noteworthy body parts notice something that doesn’t belong, they search to expose the impostor and find their own significance in question. (The Body of Christ/Authority)
- Christmas Cruise – When a family’s long awaited vacation plans are derailed, will they be too distracted to see the greater blessing God’s placed before their eyes? (Christmas/Being a Blessing)
- Contemporary Last Supper – It’s 2011 and Jesus has chosen the least likely people to join him for his farewell dinner. There’s a politician that rarely attends church and a single mother with three kids by as many fathers, nine other tag-alongs…and you. What was he thinking? (Easter/Evangelism)
- Destiny Faith Bank – An impatient customer meets his match when a bank teller refuses to release his spiritual account information based on his level of faith. (Faith)
- The Intangibles – A family is thought to have superhuman powers due to applying ordinary biblical principles. The first half consists of a television interview where, unbeknownst to the family, they are being interviewed by their arch nemesis. In
the second half, our heroes are tested to their limit as their enemy attacks their children. (Family/Stewardship Over Godly Principles)
- Mary’s Message – It’s hard to say what might have been going on in the mind of a young couple as they are given too much information about giving birth to the long-awaited Messiah by an angel…named “Bob”. (Christmas)
- The Perfect Gift – When Christmas is likely to pass by an out-of-work father’s family, we’re shown the blessing of being denied our fickle passions in order to leave room for something better. (Christmas/Gift)
- The Prisoner’s Task – A Colonial American finds himself imprisoned for life unless he can find the key to an impossible task hidden somewhere in the word of God. (Fatherhood)
- Rachel’s Song – The power of an old man contends with in the innocence of a young girl as he tries to prove to her that his god is greater. (Faithfulness)
- Resurrection Day Special Report – Two friends, who are dealing with their own issues, are being continually interrupted by a special news bulletin reporting the betrayal, arrest, interrogation and subsequent crucifixion of Jesus Christ. “Resurrection Day Special Report” attempts to make the serious and brutal events leading up to the resurrection palatable for younger viewers. (Easter/Crucifixion)
- The Reunion – When schoolmates meet up after thirty years, the table’s turn as a result of good investment management. (Stewardship Principles)
- What’s in a Name? – The deceased entertain themselves in this quirky game show where contestants have the truth of their reputations revealed. (Stewardship over Your Name)
- You Already Know – When a pastor changes the plans he had to spend time with his grandchildren, his wife goes to great lengths to distract him back toward the right choice. (Stewardship over Your Word/Evangelism)
- Introduction: Encouragement and Criticism – “In the world of education (not unlike the entertainment industry), encouragement and criticism are often used contrary to their effectiveness. Television shows like American Idol harshly criticize the inexperienced individual while encouraging the more seasoned participant thus limiting the potential of both…”
- Lesson 1: Acting Defined – “For the mature individual, what we do (which is a manifested decision) is predicated by a thought. A thought is motivated by a feeling, which are held in check by the boundaries of a belief system. Therefore, if every action is guided and influenced by belief, there is a world of difference between believers and non-believers in terms of how they approach the portrayal of life through acting…”
- Lesson 2: Acting and Sales – “When we believe in something, we empower what we’ve placed our faith in to influence us. That influence can only be equal to the corresponding amount of faith we chose to invest in ourselves (e.g. a person can believe in God and have faith in prayer, fasting, and salvation but not healing).”
- Lesson 3: Commercial Acting – “If life is viewed with the naked eye, then television and staged theater acting are viewed through opposite ends of a telescope. Staged theater must be portrayed larger than life, while video will expose the slightest nuance. Commercial Acting is comparatively much more true to life, but, because a camera is used, constant adjustments are required of the actor (i.e. the closer the shot, the less movement will be necessary)…”
- Lesson 4: Auditioning – “The number of acting jobs outnumbers singing and dancing opportunities by a wide margin. Directors of shows, even musicals, are typically actors themselves. The point being, if there are substantially more acting jobs than singing and dancing opportunities combined, compounded by the fact that actors hire actors, why isn’t the primary focus of every entertainer on honing their acting skills?”
- Drama Instruction Outline – A course outline has been incorporated to assist a director in holding an actor’s workshop.
- Conclusion – “Consider this your call. How badly do you want it? If you think you have a disadvantage – Good. We all
have our mountains to climb. When we face them and take a small step forward, we bring ourselves closer to our own freedom. Our handicaps strengthen us more than our greatest accomplishments. Our failures teach us more than our successes…”