Christmas plays have come a long way since the time our parents were in the church choir, and I am not talking just about the difference in themes. The themes have diversified no doubt, and have entered into almost all realms of our normal life, but even the manner in which the plays are organized and performed have undergone a sea change. In earlier days, Christmas plays meant only a handful of performers, mostly children, enacting a nativity scene amateurishly, with a choir warbling out the common noel hymns at the right places. This is common even nowadays, but we can all see the finesse that has come up in these plays. This shouldn't worry you if you have never organized a play before. Let's have a look at how you can organize a Christmas play.
Organizing a Christmas Play
While organizing plays is not difficult, it has to be done in a systematic manner.
Take it in Prayer
If you have been asked to organize a play, pray about it. This is not just to feel holy or super-spiritual, but this is to ask God to help you with the play. No matter how many plays a person organizes, he or she should always pray and ask God for guidance regarding the same. Ask the Lord, what He wants the people to hear and comprehend from the play.
Purpose of the Play
While organizing a Christmas play, it is important to keep in mind for whom the play is being organized. If it is an evangelistic play, the purpose of the play is sharing the gospel in the most simplest, yet attractive manner. Through the play non-Christians must understand why Jesus came into the world and what is Christianity actually about. Moreover, if the play is for Church members only, then your purpose would be to help people focus of the true meaning of Christmas or to surrender their hearts truly to Jesus. If very small kids are performing the play, you can have them enact the nativity scene.
Theme of the Play
The theme of the play is a very important aspect of the play. From the purpose of the play, the theme will follow. Think of the message you want to send out and work backwards, or think of a situation and insert a message, according to your convenience. The number of people available for enacting will also play a role in theme and storyline formation.
Selecting People for the Part
Another major aspect to be considered while organizing a play is selecting the performers, as they are the ones who finally take the play to the audience. Carry out an audition (if there are many people to choose from) and assign roles. A play need not necessarily have many actors. If you are short of people, just get two people and design the play around them. For example, you can have a girl who hates Christmas and the other person as Jesus himself. Now, Jesus these days does not need to look like the traditional Jesus in plays. So anyone who can act well will do. Design the play such that Jesus comes as a stranger and has a chat with this girl a week before Christmas.
Work within the Time Limit
You will be informed by the organizers regarding the amount of time you have for the play. You will have to organize the play, such that it fits in the allotted time frame. You will have to try to minimize the amount of time wasted between scenes, etc. People get bored of a long, never-ending play. So keep it crisp and short.
Costumes and Stage Set Up
God blesses different people with different kinds of talent. While some are good at acting, others are good with costumes and stage setting. Recognize each one's talent and designate duties. The person in charge of costumes will ensure the costumes and makeup are ready for the big day, while the background settings of the play will be carried out by the stage setting guys.
It is better to begin your rehearsals as early as possible. You will need at least ten days of practice, even if your performers are all adults. In fact, children will perform Christmas plays with better zest, and there are all chances they will get trained faster. Since the few days preceding Christmas will be extremely busy for the church, you will have to decide where you will hold the rehearsals. Make sure all the props and costumes are ready when you are having the rehearsal. Have at least three complete rehearsals before the actual performance, so that you get a chance to improve upon individual performances. However, it is not a good idea to make changes in the script at the last moment. This will only increase unwanted confusion.
Music is important. Arrange with your church choir to select a few hymns relevant to the theme and to sing them at proper places. Also, they must play some kind of background music during the play.
Always make sure your Christmas play has a strong message coming out clearly at the end. You must always ask yourself, 'what are people taking back home after watching the play?' Remember, organizing a Christmas play is not like organizing any play, it comes with the responsibility of sharing God's message to the audience. God bless you!