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Three Reasons Your Church Drama Group Needs to Do Improv

3. Improv developed acting muscles. Improv, like real life, is spontaneous. Rather than being tethered to a script (which often leads to wooden line delivery), actors are free to act and react to one another. It’s a great way to tap into playing emotions and getting the shy folks to come out of their shell. Warning: once they’re out, they rarely (if ever) go back.

2. Save the performance, save the world! Okay, maybe you won’t save the world, but if one of your actors drops or forgets a line, improv is usually your only hope. I once found myself on stage in a skit where the key character went completely blank. The entire skit turned on her dialogue, and she froze. Thankfully, the group rallied around her, filled in the gaps, and we all got out alive. When you’re used to filling in the gaps and telling a story without a script, you’re not intimidated by the line drops that happen on stage. Your actors will have the confidence to cover one another, fill in the blanks, and finish the story. And the best part is, no one will ever know the difference.

1. Trust. Actors who improv together and do it well learn to trust one another. Just as the group I worked relied on one another to get out of a disaster, your actors will have the trust to get through the scene together, no matter how bad it gets.

But here’s the best part: that trust doesn’t end when you get off stage. Actors who trust on stage become trusting off stage. People open up to one another. They share their lives. They share their faith. They become community, and they can strengthen one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

When you consider that benefit, why wouldn’t you do improv with your drama team?

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Free Skit: The Pearl

The Pearl
By John Cosper
www.righteousinsanity.com 

THEME: Heaven

CHARACTERS
Ted – A speaker in church
Phil – A guy with too much money
Mildred – Phil’s daughter

Ted enters. He holds up a small plastic pearl.

TED: The kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl of priceless value. When a man saw it for sale, he ran, and sold everything he had. He took every dime he had saved and all he earned from selling his many—

Phil runs on stage.

PHIL: Excuse me, fella? Sorry to interrupt you. Is that the pearl of priceless value?

TED: Well, I was just telling the people that—

PHIL: How much you want for it?

TED: What?

PHIL: I know it’s priceless, but you have to want something for it, right?

TED: Sir, I don’t think you understand—

PHIL: Son, I don’t think you understand. I’ve been looking my whole life for this pearl! I have to have it!

TED: But really, sir, this pearl is—

PHIL: A million dollars!

TED: What?

PHIL: A million not enough? Okay, five million!

TED: Five million dollars? For this?

PHIL: Playing hardball, huh? Okay, fine. Fifty million!

TED: Fifty million dollars??

PHIL: I have to have the pearl!

TED: Sir, please, if you’ll let me finish what I was saying…

PHIL: You know what? Here. I’m giving you my checkbook. There’s 1.2 billion dollars in my savings. It’s all yours. Do you understand? Every dime I have is yours!

TED: That’s insane!

PHIL: Still not enough for you? Okay! Here’s the deed to my house. It’s the big one in the back of Millionaire Estates.

TED: You’re giving me a million dollar home?

PHIL: It’s actually 9.2 million, but who’s counting at this point?

TED: Sir, that’s very generous, but I—

PHIL: Here’s the key to my car! And my other car! And the other. That’s a Ferrari, a Rolls Royce, and a Datsun 280Z.

TED: A Datsun?

PHIL: It’s sentimental, but if giving up that Z car will get me that pearl—

TED: I don’t want your Z car!

PHIL: You want the jet? Of course! Take the jet! And the yacht! And my daughter Mildred!

TED: Your daughter too???

PHIL: Look, I’ll level with you. She has a badly deviated septum, and she snores like a freight train, but she’s a scratch golfer, and man, can she bowl!

TED: Sir, I don’t want any of these things!

PHIL: Then what do you want? I’ve given you everything but the shirt off my back!

TED: Oh no!

PHIL: Oh yes! Here! Take my shirt! My keys! The checkbook! Mildred! It’s all yours! Now please, give me the pearl!

TED: Okay, okay! Here!

Phil and Ted exchange all of Phil’s stuff for the pearl.

PHIL: At last, it’s mine! All mine!

Phil runs off stage. Ted goes on, still puzzled.

TED: So as I was saying, the kingdom of Heaven is like… that pearl. When a man saw the pearl, he sold everything he had. Just so he could have it.

Mildred enters.

TED: You must be Mildred.

MILDRED: Yep.

TED: Wanna go bowling?

MILDRED: Sure, okay.

They exit.

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It Can Always Be Worse!

I have a cast that’s been in rehearsals almost 3 months. We think we know where we will be performing, but as yet, we do not know where. It’s frustrating. But I keep reminding myself, it could be worse.

No one has broken an arm tripping over a microphone cord on stage.

No one has lost skin off their face because a well-meaning stage mom used rubber cement instead of spirit gum to attach jewels to her face.

No one has had to run through vomit on stage – repeatedly – in their bare feet.

No one has spoken the name of a certain cursed “Scottish play,” causing a stage door to mysteriously be locked and causing an actress to miss her cue.

There’s no self-absorbed worship leader keeping us off the stage, preventing us from doing a mic check because he’s tuning his guitar (and clearly doesn’t want us on his stage anyway).

And no one has racked up a giant phone bill by using the rehearsal space’s telephone to call the WWF Hotline.

It could alway be worse, and sometimes in the past… it definitely was!

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Scotty Love Does Not Know Women

Scotty Love doesn’t know much of anything. He doesn’t know his Bible. He doesn’t know his spouse. He’s clueless about everything… except how to make a web series.

Yet in spite of his failings, Scotty Love can help you lead me into a deeper faith. The Scotty Love series was created to challenge men to become better husbands, fathers, and believers. Each lesson in the Scotty Love series begins with an episode of Scotty’s advice show. It continues with a Bible reading and discussion questions. It’s a fun and light-hearted way to get men into small groups where they can start sharpening one another’s faith.

Scotty Love’s Bible Study for Guys is free to download and free to use. Click here to watch more and get the series for yourself.

 

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Free Skit: Looking in the Wrong Place

Looking in the Wrong Place
By John Cosper
www.righteousinsanity.com

THEME: Easter

CHARACTERS
Ken- A 36 year old man-child
Joe- Ken’s dad

Joe is sitting in his favorite chair reading the newspaper. A Bible is on the floor nearby. Ken enters with an empty Easter basket.
KEN: Daaaaaaaad!
JOE: Yessssss?
KEN: I have a problem!
JOE: What is it, son?
KEN: There’s no Easter eggs!
JOE: What?
KEN: There’s no Easter eggs, Dad!
JOE: Of course there are Easter eggs. It’s Easter!
KEN: Well where are they?
JOE: I don’t know, Ken! You have to hunt for them!
KEN: I’ve been hunting, Dad! I’ve looked everywhere!
JOE: Obviously not, if you haven’t found any!
KEN: I’ve searched the basement, the laundry room, the dining room, the kitchen. I even searched in the coat closet. There are no Easter eggs!
JOE: Did you look in the backyard?
KEN: Why would I look in the backyard?
JOE: Because that’s where the bunny hides the eggs, son! He doesn’t hide them in the basement, the laundry room, the dining room, or the kitchen!
KEN: What about the coat closet?
JOE: They’re not in the coat closet, Ken! They’re in the yard! Take your basket, go outside, and you’ll find the eggs!
KEN: All right, all right, I’ll go outside already!
JOE: Good. Then after you do that, get a job.
KEN: What??
JOE: Son, you’re 36 years old. It’s time you get a job!
KEN: But Dad, I’ve been looking everywhere for a job! I can’t find one.
JOE: Where’ve you been looking?
KEN: Mad Magazine, Spider-Man comics, Field and Stream!
JOE: You’ll never find a job in Mad Magazine or Spider-Man comics!
KEN: What about Field and Stream?
JOE: You can’t find a job in Field and Stream! You find them in the newspapers!
KEN: But I don’t have a newspaper, Dad!
Joe hands Ken his newspaper.
JOE: Get a job, son.
KEN: Fine!
Ken starts to exit.
JOE: Happy Easter!
KEN: Yeah yeah!
Ken exits. Joe picks up the Bible and opens it.
JOE: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen.” Hmm. (looks up at the audience) Where are you looking for Jesus?

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Here I Go Again

It’s been six years since I directed anything on stage. When I left Christian Academy of Indiana after five years, I knew I would have to return one day. It wasn’t because I missed it; I haven’t. I’ve enjoyed watching my kids grow up and do their things. It wasn’t because I still believe theater is my destiny. Not sure I ever believed that. No, I knew I had to come back because so help me, I could not go to the grave with Annie being the last play I ever directed.

So here I am. Six years later, as I start this new blog, I am directing one of my own, Morbidman Meets His Maker. I’ve never directed this play, but I’ve always wanted to. I’ve got a solid cast that’s been in rehearsals for two months now. We’re just waiting for the powers that be to tell us where and when the play will happen.

(The play is going to be a dinner theater fundraiser for my friends at Power Ministries. One night only, but we also plan to do the show for the good folks at Eastside Christian Church as a “thank you” for letting us use their space to rehearse.)

I am having fun with old friends and new. The cast includes three former Dramamaniacs, two of my students from Christian Academy, four former New Albany High School Marching Band members, and two (soon to be three) professional wrestlers.

There are people at all levels of experience in the group, but there are no egos or attitudes. Everyone’s getting along, and everyone is having a good time. I’ve always fostered an atmosphere of collaboration on plays as it is, and everyone has taken full advantage of the opportunity to pitch ideas, try new things, and be ridiculously silly.

I’m sure there will be more on the play here as it comes along. For now, just wanted to say hello, tell you what’s going on, and officially begin a new Righteous Insanity blog.

So help me… here I go again.