I can’t recall when there was ever a time a Christmas production had a preview for bloggers. Perhaps, this demonstrates how times have changed even for churches today in reaching out beyond ourselves. My first impressions after the preview is that so much has changed in how churches can do their Christmas production these days. On stage as well as off stage. some of the bloggers have put up their thoughts and mostly pictures up. You can find them here at MADWORLD’s own blog post Special blogger preview.
My apologies for being late. But with the countdown towards the first show on Friday. Perhaps it’s timely anyway. Please allow me to contribute finally my more wordy and personalized effort
MADWORLD is dubbed as "A contemporary stage show featuring dance choreography, drama & music" is a collaboration between two churches in Klang Valley namely, DUMC and SIBKL. To me this is significant, because it’s a hint of recognition we can’t do things alone. Even for both of the churches whom I would guess have enough resources to go "solo", at the end decided to produce this Christmas stage show together (or more precisely decided from the start to do it together!) For me this is the way to go. It puts a smile on my face.
I was told that at least there are 36 members in the cast, and about 100 people in total including those behind the scenes from the steady hand who holds the lip stick to the meticulous dancing fingers switching the videos and every one in between. The amount of time needed to plan and prepare for this event starting this Friday 3 December 8pm at Dream Centre Section 13 sends shivers to me The second round of the performance will be at SIB KL auditorium, 5th floor, Bangunan Yin, starting also on a Friday, 24 December 2010 8pm. I salute everyone who will make this happen.
One thing which struck me was the attempt to allow the artistic gifts to flourish especially in terms of dance and movement. The way creative movement is displayed in this stage show probably won’t be what some of us have been used to in a Christmas production in a church setting. As a pastor myself, whom probably enjoys vocalizing words to convey my message, I’ve always been intrigued on how non-verbal communication evokes an emotion, stirs our imagination or carries a message. Somehow dance which is such a physical activity on the surface, at the deeper level is able to touch us where words fail. There were moments even in the "raw" preview where a mixture of tension and release, intensity and peace oozed out from the stage. Apart from the grand opening scene, I particularly liked the performances by the two male leads. I could see they were very "in to" character and focused in what they were doing.
Of course, there’s the familiar use of songs and MADWORLD has the combination of original pieces with contemporary Christian music. Keep your ear out for the closing song. I remember singing it as a Christmas carol when our small church did our gigs at MPH a couple of years ago, Whether it was done with simple percussions and a guitar with two handful of singers, or in MADWORLD’s case powerful vocals together with full dance choreography, I couldn’t help but choke up a little but then held back to take some more pictures.
As for the story, there will be familiar parts with regards to the storyline which to some might be predictable, to others a needed reminder, but for all of us it will depend on where we are at in our own stage of life to reflect on the message MADWORLD wants to communicate. I best leave it to you to go to the show yourself and let you give your feedback. From my view, one thing which I appreciated was there was a conscious effort to connect the pain, isolation and suffering outside of the walls of the church. While I think we who are often overly comfortable should get a stronger kick out of our zones, MADWORLD will at least the give us a nudge to reconsider the kind of world we live in (without being blind to our surroundings) as well as the state of our inner worlds (which reminds me of the metaphor of a "mirror" in one of the scenes).
One little note I want to add is that in a massive production like this. A lot of times we miss the "invisible" people working behind the scenes whether it’s the make up team, stage design, and also the sound and light & media team. I enjoyed sitting closer to them during the preview and see how they time their video clips and also other little technical details to provide the right environment for the rest of the cast and also live music to blend in. Often they are the unsung heroes for events like this. I thought I’d give them a little big CHEER before even the show begins! Yeah! In many ways they "remind" us of so many people in our own lives that often are behind the scenes but in their own way set the stage for us to flourish and dance through the MADWORLD of our lives!
Go for the show and if you want to tell me about it. So, my blog post will now come to an end. The conversation on all that matters need not end when the lights are turned off at the finale. For many it might be the beginning (credit to Morpheus from the Matrix for this last line!) There’s the preacher bug in me sneaking in and itching to preach. But, I’m wearing a blogger hat now.
While I was walking in Bangsar Village I the other afternoon, I overheard the Christmas Carol, "The First Noel". Even the malls are ready at least for the shopping mad rush they hope will happen. As for the rest of us, Christmas can be a time where we can look out beyond ourselves, and also look in within ourselves, and in that whole process suddenly find ourselves afresh, and maybe find out more about the mysteries of a KINGDOM beyond this MADWORLD.