Unscripted Ephesians Ch 4

Theology of inclusion. Process versus Product.   In many areas, you can have quality in one area, such as Process, but it comes at the expense of the other—especially in theatre.  Where this debate often plays out is in casting. If you are of an exclusive mind, then you can easily turn down people who don’t meet your minimum standards of qualification. Easy peasy: you pick Product. But, if you are of an inclusive mind, you will quickly find yourself in the tough situation of having a person who really wants to participate, but simply isn’t qualified.  Often, when in this situation, you could easily find someone who could do a better job—but this person is so eager, and they want it so badly.  So the question becomes, do I sacrifice a degree of quality so I can include this person?

The wonky thing that Paul points at right at the top of Chapter 4 in Ephesians, is that by God’s way of doing things, you don’t have to choose between them.  In fact, choosing between them is the worst option, because how you do things is no less important than what you are trying to accomplish.   Paul makes this clear when he writes “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”   Where theatre is a world built by illusion and deception, where we accept that much must be hidden—and whatever is hidden can be as ugly as possible—Ephesians reminds us that when it comes to God’s point of view, it all matters.

When it comes to the theatre I help run, we’ve made it a priority to try to balance our focus between process and product, and we can actually see positive results from it.  Where have you come up against this? Has is surprised you?

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One thought on “Unscripted Ephesians Ch 4

  1. Diving right in here: Yes, it does ALL matter. The discussions are to whom does it matter and what value(s) do they assign various elements.

    “Product” is contextual; when someone hands me a substantial sum of money to spend on a production, with that sum comes with expectations of recoupment, yay, verily, profitability. Under those circumstances, one of my responsibilities is to front-load the project with as much accomplishment/expertise/talent as I can find.

    There are other theatrical arenas where profitability, whilst welcome, isn’t essential; this is particularly true of educational theatre.

    There’s a certain recalibrating of expectations for me depending, of course, under which circumstances I’m working.

    And it *is* work. Theatre may be an art, but directing is a craft and I’ve spent a significant amount of my life learning it. I’ve gone to class to learn from people whose job it is to teach. I’ve also toiled thousands of hours in theatres working for/around directors who weren’t interested in teaching; whether I learned or what was entirely up to me. Those were the scary lessons, but, ultimately, many of the most valuable and useful.

    I’ve never met someone without talent; I’ve met many who were un- or under-trained. Here, “teacher” moves to share space with “director”. Having a cast of mixed skillsets/experience is often a challenge–some actors are ready to run whilst others can’t seem to find their way off the starting block.

    It has been my good fortune that casting inexperienced actors has often brought happy surprises. (As opposed to the union actors I’ve had to fire over the years.) Once we–actors and director–are all on the same page, it becomes part of my job to at least attempt to allow each actor to run and develop at his/her own pace. That’s not always easy. On the up-side, a lot is forgiven if the product (the show) turns out well.

    Inevitably–and this is the shared benefit: no one leaves the process unchallenged or unchanged. We all learn. (Sometimes the lesson is “Don’t do that.” But even that has great value.) We all grow. Some say “Enough for me.” Some of us go on to do it again. And again. And again.

    I live. I direct. I learn. Rinse. Repeat.

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