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DECEMBER 2004
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Featured Article
From the Editor -
David Ian

Just in time for the holiday programs, Darlene Hight brings a reminder to producers, directors and technical directors on the importance of using color to reinforce theme, add pleasure to the audience’s eye and to make the overall production value much more, er, palatable.

A Successful Palette
By Darlene Hight

We were having a marvelous time. I love a good play and the play we were watching was fantastic! It was Broadway caliber, all the way. This was no shoddy production. It was an outstanding, top notch, high quality performance. Every detail meticulously designed from the costumes, to the staging, to the sets. It oozed quality.

I fell headlong into the play. One of the best things about play-going is being swept into the performance. When the wall between audience and actors falls away, magic happens. If anything brings the wall back up, the magic dispels and the enjoyment with it. Even the best plays can contain a glitch. Not all glitches are of wall-raising proportion. It can be as minor as a microphone that hums or one actor that you have to strain to hear.

The aforementioned play had a glitch, a tiny little glitch. It was so tiny in fact that it took me most of the performance to figure it out. This production had it all. It had music, drama, holiday flair, variety and a solid message. The story line alternated between modern day, Victorian and Biblical times and the switch in time periods was perfectly orchestrated.  
One Starry Night
By David Ian

The holiday season brings holiday dramas. This script is designed to be performed with no costumes, props or set. Nothing should suggest at the start that our performers are sheep. The audience is to discover details as they are revealed piecemeal.

Someone asked me about sheep in biblical times having unions and spouting opinions about the musical "Cats". My response was, "Look, if you are willing to suspend your disbelief that sheep can talk, I don’t think the rest is a much of a stretch."

Besides, who’s to say they don’t have unions….?

Merry Christmas.

THE SCRIPT:

Scriptures Referenced:

John 1:29
Isaiah 53:6
Matthew 18:10-14
Luke 15:4-7
Luke 2:10-12

CHARACTERS (Either gender. Substitute names if switched)

Sheep #1: NEVILLE
Sheep #2: NIGEL
Sheep #3: TRAVIS

STAGE: Bare.

COSTUMES: None

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However, every time the stage transformed to Bible times the play lulled. It wasn’t that the music was less lively. The staging remained impressive. The actors, dancers and singers performed brilliantly. The costumes were outstanding. It was the palette of dreary colors that presented the problem. All of the costumes were various shades of browns and grays. The backdrop conveyed a typical Bible time’s landscape.

Color is an often overlooked element in productions set in Biblical times. For a Bible setting, most people immediately envision a palette of browns and grays. As a director, it would be a huge mistake to drastically alter this preconceived concept. The audience expects authenticity and would reject anything that arched too far away from authentic colors. However, directors need to keep in mind that this is entertainment. Visual boredom is an equal risk.

The color scale can be balanced. This is accomplished by either sprinkling brighter colors into a largely authentic palette or applying a slight dulling to a brighter palette. In Bible times colors were readily available. The colors consisted of blue, varying shades of red and orange, yellow, brown and black. Purple cloth was extremely expensive. The rich wore purple. The dying processes weren’t as refined as today. Therefore, colors weren’t as bright. In order to achieve vibrant color, all natural color must be removed. This technique wasn’t mastered until later in history. It is now a first step in the modern dying process. Knowing a bit about color will enhance your Bible time drama.

The key to any quality production is careful attention to detail. When planning a Bible time’s pageant, attention to the color palette is equal to visual success. Color is a marvelous tool. A Christmas program springs to life with a touch of red and green added to an otherwise neutral palette and an Easter production mired in browns and beige can be brightened with actors wearing muted shades of spring colors.

So wherever your creative spirit takes you, don’t forget to apply a full palette of color.
In addition to being a writer, Darlene serves her local church as Drama Coordinator. Her first love is Christ (with family falling ever so slightly under Him), next is drama and writing. All are deeply etched in her fabric by a loving God whose processes never fade.