Friday, March 30, 2012

Them bones, them bones

2011 Dry Bones rehearsal by Steve. I'm definitely taking a nap.

Most of the Easter Vigil readings are either narrative or prophetic. The narrative ones are stories with beginnings, middles, and endings -- Creation, Noah and the Flood, Abraham and Isaac, and Israel's Deliverance at the Red Sea.

The prophetic readings are more like poems. They don't have much built-in movement or action, so they take more imagination to stage -- Salvation Offered Freely, God's Presence in a Renewed Israel, New Heart and New Spirit, The Gathering of God's People ...

And then there's The Valley of the Dry Bones. It lives somewhere in between story and poetry, history and prophecy. And it's awesomely bizarre.

The Valley of Dry Bones from Church of the Resurrection on Vimeo.

Skills required to participate in last year's Dry Bones reading (pick one):

a) sheet holding
b) Indonesian shadow puppetry 
c) lying very still, then standing up and walking
d) Scripture memorization

I am quite adept at (c), so I was part of the army. 

This year, the ideal skill set looks more like:

a) cello or percussion playing
b) hip hop dancing*
c) beat boxing
d) Scripture memorization -- in Hebrew

So, as you see, I'm out. But I'm SO excited to watch. If you're around Chicago next week, come and see!

*I would totally qualify** if my own dry bones would cooperate. Did you know you could sprain your rib from coughing? Heads up, you can, and it hurts.

**No, I wouldn't.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored ...

This is me, rehearsing being formless and void. Steve took the picture. He is also livestock in the video below.

This will be my 7th Easter at Church of the Resurrection. Even though we read the same 9 Old Testament passages year after year, they always feel fresh, thanks to artists who are committed to treating the Word of the Lord with the creativity and respect it deserves.

Last year, I got to serve as part of the troupe that developed the readings under fabulous direction. Our directors gave us guidelines within which to improvise, and they curated the best of our ideas into the final readings.

Rez recently posted videos of last year's Easter Vigil readings. Some of last year's readings didn't translate well to film, since they were designed to be in the midst of the congregation rather than elevated onto the stage. One that did, though, was the creation reading. Something about the creation story brought out the troupe's playfulness, so we ran with it.

Creation from Church of the Resurrection. Video edited by Josh, who is also Adam's dog. Music edited by Blade. Besides being formless and void, I am a frenetic star, a flower, and livestock.

The Creation reading will be drastically different this year -- more music, more dance, more kids! -- and I'm SO excited to be part of it.* If you're in the Chicago area Easter weekend, don't miss it! Full details are here.

“O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 214)

*I play 1/48th of the Voice of God, as well as 1/4th of the serpent. At such times, I'm thankful not to be a method actor.