A STAR IS BORN….NOT! (by Steve Gibbons)

The hall is filled with rapturous applause as I take a bow with the rest of the cast having just ended the story of the Parable of the Gold Coins or as the kids know it ‘Big Bags of Money’!
It had been a meteoric rise to stardom for me, something I’d always secretly wanted to do. And here I was, the great moment had arrived, having just pulled off, with a certain amount of aplomb, the role of Jesus,
the top man!
It had been a very different feeling six weeks previously in my first ever rehearsal for ‘Open the Book’ in the story of the Centurion’s Servant! I say
rehearsal, but in reality it was a quick half hour run through before being thrust, unwillingly, onto the stage and the searching eyes of 150 inquisitive children.
Luckily my novice status had been obvious to all at ‘rehearsal’ and so I was consigned to being an extra in the crowd scene! ‘No lines, just facial expressions will do’ I was told…. Surprise, contempt, happy, sad …… in fact
the whole range of emotions!
Everything went without a hitch (on my part anyway), I think, until the grand finale when we all sang/performed with actions the popular song ‘ My God is a Great Big God’.
I’ve never been very animated when it comes to acting out these songs, preferring the conservative approach to worship. You know, hands in pockets and miming a bit!
So, here I was in front of 150 children 5 – 10 year olds and their teachers encouraging them all to follow my lead!
Uncomfortable? Yes. But, enjoyable? A big yes! I was hooked.
In my second ‘performance’ I was promoted, to my great surprise as Chief Pharisee, with lines to learn………Oh No!
For a whole week I practised my lines, trying to get the tone, actions and facial expressions in sync.. I learnt a salutary lesson that day!
No matter how well you know your lines an audience, be it only children, will give one acute amnesia! How embarrassing!
Note to self. Crib notes are essential!
Anyway I couldn’t have been all that bad because on the next occasion, just two week later I was given the prestigious role of Jesus himself!
Vote of confidence? Maybe but I couldn’t help musing that I was the only male in the troupe!
My introduction to ‘Open the Book’ was by way of a casual remark over a coffee by one of the regular ‘Open the Bookers’. Why don’t you come along and see for your self? A non-threatening introduction if ever I heard one. I accepted.
The discovery that I just loved this “poor mans slapstick and paint” malarky came as a big surprise to me. The acting and the dressing up, yes, definitely the dressing up!
Some would say it’s totally out of character and I would agree. Jekyll and Hyde springs to mind. The biggest buzz I get though, is seeing the looks on
the children’s faces. Their excitement and smiles. All in all a great way to spread God’s word!
Steve Gibbons

Anyone who would like to join Steve and
the rest of the team would be most
welcome – hopefully in September.
Meanwhile please pray for our schools
and teachers, as we promised them we
would.
Jill Lee
Peter Freeman
Liz Howden

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