By Katrina Schell, Performing Arts Division Head
In these recent chapels, the LCA community has been able to experience the story of Jules, Jerry, Vivian, and Mr. Jameson on the stage. These short scenes, written by our resident playwrights, are meant to enhance the message given during chapel in a unique and engaging form. Never before has LCA done short plays during a chapel; in fact, the medium has barely ventured beyond after school productions and ArtsFest. Since it is a new concept, the LCA community naturally has questions, which this article will attempt to explain.
What do they mean?
The answer to this question depends on the particular piece. Each episode entails a different message that Mr. Lane explains in the time that is left in the chapel. All of these plays, however, are focused around chapel’s central theme of gifts.
What is the point?
The point of the chapel plays is to expose LCA to a new form of thinking and create a unique community experience. This is a new idea that has not been attempted before, but, once the idea was proposed to create a chapel play, we could, and so we did.
Who wrote these?
Four of our resident playwrights wrote these scripts. Episode one was written by Mr. Greco, episode two is by Trina Schell, episode three is by Bella Martin, and episode four is by Ethan Saf.
Why are we doing these instead of Bible lectures?
The chapel plays are meant as an engaging addition to this year’s chapel theme. LCA has never tried to incorporate theater into chapel before, and the proposal was given last year to incorporate actors and playwrights further into the LCA community. Although this is a new idea that has not been breached before, it has turned out to be a unique experience for this year’s chapels. These plays are not meant only to enhance the messages given in chapel.
Are these relevant?
These chapel plays are relevant to the overall message of chapel. Although their purpose was not explicitly stated at first, these plays relate to Mr. Lane’s overall theme of gifts in a creative way. Instead of having a straight lecture, the chapel plays were catered to our specific LCA audience and communicate different messages about the meaning of gifts. The teenage characters and their situation, which quite closely resembles LCA, is specific for this audience, and attempts to portray Mr. Lane’s messages in a non-traditional form.
Why did we watch the first installment twice?
The first installment did not change between presentations, however, it was re-performed in order to serve as a recap for the three following episodes. A long time had spanned since the performance of the first episode and the second, and the cast wanted to remind the LCA community what happened in the first episode.
Who are these characters?
Jules, Jerry, Vivian, and Mr. Jameson are not based on any current LCA faculty or students.
A Word from the Playwrights:
Finally, even though the words of playwrights are limited to the final copies of their scripts, the playwrights have a few thoughts for the LCA community. Playwrights are doing more than stringing a few words together on the page, they are creating art beneath their very fingers. However, this side of the arts is not recognized nearly as much as the side of art that we see throughout the hallways. All our artists deserve to have their work showcased, and they all deserve opportunities to learn, grow, and show their achievements to the student body.
These plays are not just for the playwrights’ benefit, though. These plays are a unique experience that the LCA community alone is sharing. The experience in these plays is catered specifically for this audience to entail a deeper meaning for this moment in time. Not only have these plays fostered a community-oriented chapel environment; they have also shown theater in a more accessible medium.
Normally, our theater program is limited to after school productions that the student body must make an effort to attend. Having the plays in chapel provides an opportunity for our actors to stretch themselves in front of a large audience, and demonstrate to the LCA community that theater is more than three shows a year. As Mr. Greco noted, the very fact that these plays were performed is a success, since it opened up LCA to a non-traditional chapel setup and allowed the actors to show their peers that theater is a respectable and worthwhile endeavor.
Now, what is the main takeaway the playwrights want to leave you with? Like most playwrights, ours are ambiguous and want to leave their meaning up to each audience member. What exactly is the meaning of this disruption to the normal chapel flow? How should LCA as a community respond? Well, that is up to the audience’s interpretation, but know that the playwrights put more meaning into four episodes than idle talk by four related characters.