Last night I went to see the 80’s in action. My friends were almost unrecognizable with their frizzy curls, heavy make-up and brightly colored clothing. The boys were also different, though honestly I like the polo & slacks look better than the skinny jeans of today. (Just don’t ever go back to 80’s hair. Please.) I was surprised to recognize as many of the 80’s references as I did. I mostly have my parents to thank for that. Even before the play we were making a game out of who knew the most music. Apparently we all know more than we thought, but we are terrible with titles.
The first thing I noticed as the play began was that the kids were actually singing. There was no lip-syncing at all. I was very impressed with how many of our high-schoolers can sing. I didn’t hear anyone do a bad job and some of the songs left me feeling awestruck. Keep singing guys, you were awesome. Certain dances were fantastic and lots of fun to watch…I had my feet tapping and I was fidgeting in my chair, wanting to join in. As if all of this wasn’t enough, the quality of acting went above and beyond that of an average high-school play. The kids were all in character & most importantly, they looked like they were having a blast. I want to see more of that in the future. I definitely had a favorite scene…it had me laughing uncontrollably by the end of it. My second favorite scene was also pretty funny…..I like funny things. J I don’t really want to tell you too much about them but…Mr. Miyagi and Star Wars. Funniest scenes in the whole play. There were some other really good scenes as well. Sing offs, conflict through song, joy, sadness. There was a smooth blend of emotions that kept me guessing and feeling involved in the play. Musicals are easy to mess up, either with too much music or not enough. I don’t think that was the case in this play. The music played a key part in revealing the emotions of the story.
A subplot within the play involved the romance of two high-school teachers. All was going well with their relationship until the male teacher saw a picture of the female in a magazine he confiscated from a student. This scene was done tastefully, focusing on the conflict between the two. Several scenes later we are shown the pain of this male teacher. I felt pain with him. Indeed, I experienced horror. His thoughts of his female counterpart were explicitly revealed to the audience, through his song and her dance.
Which brings me to the one real criticism I have of this play. It is a heart breaking sorrow that the adults in charge of the play didn’t see anything wrong with having a high-school girl perform that dance. I don’t care if they wanted to show the character’s thoughts. His thoughts were impure. That young lady is beautiful, and a very talented dancer. They have no excuse for asking her to do a seductive dance that even I, as a woman, could not watch. If it is intended to inflame lust, is it ok just because she had some clothes on? Fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters were in the audience. Have we come so far that we no longer feel shame? Besides the damage done to the viewers, just how is this young lady going to see herself? There were teenage boys watching this. Men of all ages witnessed her dancing. They put her on a table in front of all of them, on display. I hurt for this girl. Maybe she’s been taught that there is nothing wrong with dancing in that way, but that’s irrelevant. The community, school, adults in charge of the play, other actors, and audience don’t have to participate in her harm, and that is one of the reasons I write this. I want her to know that she is a talented dancer. She doesn’t have to dance in the gutter for the sake of some play. She is worth more than that. She could make people’s minds and hearts soar with her dance.
The responsibility for this shame can’t lie on this talented young lady or the other teenagers that acted. I don’t know whether they spoke up or not. These are my friends from church. These are my sisters & brothers in Christ. The kids who aren’t Christians have been trained to believe that you can sacrifice everything for your career. My prayer is that they someday find something that is greater than any career. How are they going to do that when even the Christian teachers and authority figures are compromising their beliefs? Why won’t they fight to protect the youth entrusted to them?
I saw more than I should have. My friends stayed with me and did the same. Perhaps it would have been better had we left. Instead I just sat still, stared at the ground and prayed for it to end quickly. I was wrong too. How much have I compromised? I don’t know yet. More than was right. Not just in the play. We are in a Christian town and yet we are silent. Today is the end. Before God, I will write for Him and not just when I want to.
My prayers are with the high-school today. The play runs again tonight. Kids will be spending another exhausting session singing and dancing. These young men and women need our prayers, and our support. I’m not sure how to do that right now, but I do know that the Lord will fight for them. They are beloved by Him and precious so they must be the same to me. May God ever direct our steps. Shalom.