I’ve always enjoyed acting and theatrical work; it’s something that gets in your blood, sometime when you’re young, and never really leaves you. Though majoring in theatre wasn’t in the cards for me, I’ve nearly always found a theatrical outlet wherever I am. And though I was very much looking forward to helping out with the musical in Nome, due to conditions beyond my control, it was canceled this year.
But all was not lost! Pastor Karen, at the Lutheran Church, offered me a small theatrical part in a Palm Sunday sketch. And I gratefully accepted, before recognizing that I was going to be playing… the Devil.
Yes, playing the enemy, in front of a church congregation on Palm Sunday – this was going to be interesting. It was a great sketch, though – examining Jesus’ death on the cross as a ransom paid for humanity, caged by sin. I also played the role of a boy, carrying a birdcage, though even this role was one of mischief and delight in scaring birds… not the most positive role. But, it is needed. It’s hard to have a sketch without conflict, and not every character can be a “good guy”. It’s been so long since I’ve played a character without any shades of grey that it took some getting used to.
And, of course, I may now be known in Nome as “the Guy who Played the Devil in Church”. Which may make an interesting cognitive dissonance in a few weeks when I will be guest preaching for Karen… but that’s a story yet to be written.
I wouldn’t normally comment on the sketch, but it felt really good to be doing something theatrical – and the kids who came up afterwards and said that they thought I was really believable, and they could never act like that were gratifying and sad at the same time. I encouraged them to try acting – that they would get better by doing it, not thinking about the end goal. Blank stares from the kids. Their parents were smiling, so maybe the lesson will still get through at some point.
In the meantime, let’s remember to teach kids that actors are not their characters. And also, adults, while we’re at it. And, I suppose, anyone else, not in the prior categories.