Posted in church on August 23rd, 2010 and tagged , , , , , ,

Four times per year, our church puts on a family program called Kidstuf.  This time around, my two oldest daughters were chosen to be Kidstuf dancers, and they did a GREAT job!

Kidstuf is energetic and fun for adults and kids alike, so my husband and I were pleased to be offered the opportunity to direct the skit portion of the show.  We accepted the position, and we enjoyed preparing and rehearsing over the past month or so.  I can’t say the actual show went off without a hitch since the tech crew missed a few cues and sound effects.  But then again, we had only one rehearsal with the tech crew before the actual production.  I’m not really sure if anyone noticed the technical gaffes, and I made sure to keep a big smile on my face for the nervous cast to see as a sign of encouragement throughout the show.  And I should mention that this edition of Kidstuf was unprecedented in that families sat together in the audience.  Normally we have kids up front, and parents with wee little ones sit in the back.  But this time, there was a family activity to be done – each  family was given poster board, colored note cards, and glue sticks.  Throughout the skit, families were directed to write different words on their note cards pertaining to either God or their loved ones.  At the end, they were to paste their note cards to the poster boards in the shape of a flower.  Being the first time we’ve attempted a family craft during Kidstuf, we didn’t know what to expect…  But the jubilant feeling I felt when I looked around and saw that the families had done the craft was indescribable.  Not only did their flowers look great, but they had also together created something to take home that will remind them about how important familial and Godly relationships are in life.  It was probably the most accomplished feeling a director can  have, and that made the distraction of the tech problems disappear from my mind!

As I mentioned before, my kids were excellent Kidstuf dancers!  They had rehearsed together every day before the production, had fun at their rehearsals, and then when performance time came, they were naturals on the stage!  Here is a clip (my lovelies are the two on the left –  my oldest is in green, and her little sis is in yellow behind her):

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Kidstuf had something for everyone: a great Bible lesson (Philippians 4:8 complete with “not borin'” tips on how to memorize it), dancing, singing, a fun skit, comedy, and audience participation – Hubby was one of the adults that was called up to participate to be a “cow”.  From the show: “you know that cows are known to bounce around on the range….”  We had six adults on the stage bouncing around on (child size) hippity-hops, 3 of whom got roped by the ‘magic lasso’ – it was classic!  Here’s a clip:

Actually never mind…  while it was fun at the time, those adults might not appreciate being on the internet on their hippity hops, getting roped by the ‘magic lasso’, so I will just save that one for memory – hilarious, and the kids LOVED it!!

And I must add that our other audience participation scene went quite well also, but this one involved kids acting like a fire brigade.  Things got crazy, and before the audience knew it, a real bucket of water was thrown upon a cast member.  Before the production, much discussion was held on how not to mess up the stage (Kidstuf is performed in our Worship Center, so keeping things clean was of utmost importance), and thankfully we decided to remove one of the Worship Band’s monitors from the stage before “Scottie’s” dousing.  Because we had never used actual water during rehearsal, the physics of the soaking was as much of a surprise to us directors and to the cast (especially poor “Scottie”) as it was to the audience – “Tyler” got “Scottie” right down the front of her bib overalls, and the look on the actress’ face was priceless!

All in all, we experienced an extremely fun and successful Kidstuf; we couldn’t have asked for a better show!  Afterward, there was a carnival with games, activities, and carnival food, and it was all free, which was great for many community families – hope we got a lot of new people to come check out our great church!  I know many families had a fun-packed day, and I was very excited to be part of such a wonderful event.  I’m really glad that my Illinois family (most of them anyway) were able to join us, and I know it meant the world to my kids to have some fans in the audience, so thank you!!

For those who were not fortunate enough to be able to see the show, Philippians 4:8 reads:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

My Stage Debut, Sort of…

Posted in church, Theater on December 10th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, ok, so last Sunday wasn’t really my stage debut; I acted in about 4 stage plays when I was a kid, and three quarters of those roles were in The Wizard of Oz  🙂

But somewhere along the line, I developed a severe stage fright, and I haven’t come close to the front of a stage since I auditioned (and wasn’t chosen) for the part of Thor in The Nerd in 1990.  I’ve worked in many various capacities behind the scenes and on the members’ boards for a few of our local community theater groups in recent years, and if ever someone was brave enough to inquire, I would always reject and adamantly refuse the offers of roles to be portrayed onstage in front of an audience – just way too nervous, and I’ve actually had many a nightmare about having to  get onstage!

But a few weeks ago, my husband and I became involved in our church’s semi-annual Kidstuff, which is a small collection of skits and musical numbers aimed at instilling a virtue in its audience, this time being ‘compassion’.  So my husband was rehearsing for Kidstuff, and I was tagging along to rehearsals as I usually do when he is in a play.  I was asked by the director (who is also the school nurse in my two oldest daughters’ school district) if I would “just stand there and hand out prizes” during one of the skits.  Always being willing to help providing it doesn’t get in the way of my family life, I obliged, and next thing I know I am a character complete with a name, Fran Hootenhiener!  So I guess you could say it was my stage debut as an adult!  The director was right though, I really just had to stand there during one of the skits and hand out cookies, but I even had an introduction by the extremely handsome game show host (my real-life husband) where I had to smile and even give a little wave to the audience while I showed off my cookie prizes.  I was incredibly nervous beforehand, but I got through it without fainting or doing anything really embarrassing like throwing the cookies at someone or dropping my tray.  I think it helped that 90% of the audience was kids and also that our little show had a more divine purpose than simple entertainment.  It was quite a different experience to work with a cast and crew who were coming together to teach kids a virtue versus a community theater production where the goal is to entertain paying adults.  Not that one is better; it’s just a matter of personal preference, I think, and it helped me to be less nervous.

And I think this experience helped me for what was to come last night…  because of the weather, the two other small group leaders for the 7th grade girls at youth group were unable to make it, so I was in charge of ALL the 7th grade girls last night!  It went better than I thought, even though I really don’t like to be the one in charge of a group.  But, such is life, and I’m just happy I didn’t know about it until we arrived last night otherwise I would have been a nervous wreck all day.  And the youth pastor’s face when he told me I  was the only teacher who could make it was just priceless, haha!

I’m not saying I will ever get on stage again, but for this one time, I actually had some fun!

Coolest Coaster

Posted in Travel on September 22nd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I got an email today called “What do you remember?” – it’s a list of tv shows that aren’t on anymore.  You add your name and a show you used to watch to the list and send it on.  It made me think of a kids’ show I used to love called, “The Roller Coaster Gang”.  I wasn’t totally positive that was the name of the show, however, so I did a google search – and that’s how I found what sounds like the coolest roller coaster ever!

It’s called The Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster, but unfortunately for me, it’s on the other side of the world at the Warner Bros. Movie World theme park in Australia.  It’s a haunted house / roller coaster combined, and here is the press release about it that so intrigued me:

November 30, 2002
Guests will be treated to a hair-raising journey complete with laser lighting and sound effects, animatronics and a kaleidoscope of colour, depth, height and trickery of dimension this holiday season thanks to the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster Ride.

A $13 million indoor rollercoaster ride inspired by the first feature film shot at Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios on the Gold Coast starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini and Rowan Atkinson, the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster Ride is not a ride for the faint hearted.

Featuring carefully replicated coaster cars from Scooby-Doo the film, guests enter the creepy dimly lit courtyard and move into the heart of Spooky Castle, where ghouls, gargoyles and the odd talking suit of armour may appear!

Housed in a 25 metre high building, the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster Ride features two distinctive experience zones, thrilling guests with different aspects of laser lighting.

While the laser lighting embraces and creates the entire illusion, maintaining it throughout the experience and simultaneously performing for multiple audiences moving through three dimensional space at high speed, the ride continuously alters direction, velocity, elevation and trajectors.

Warner Village Theme Park Chief Executive John Menzies explains that Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster is a world first and is a unique combination of two different types of entertainment experiences.

“Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster is completely innovative, no other ride in the world can be compared to this combination of experiences – the classic haunted house utilising the latest technological advances and lighting and sound effects and the adrenalin pumping thrills of an indoor rollercoaster,” said Chief Executive John Menzies.

The first experience zone further develops the Spooky Castle theme into a ghost train ride featuring the best in traditional movie inspired themeing and amusing animatronics.

Just as guests begin to think their journey is nearing conclusion, they find themselves drawn up over 17 metres into the castle’s creepy tower. This unsettling experience heralds their reversed entry into the rides second zone as guests are then pushed into a darkened void.

Disoriented in the dark, riders are now subject to the will and influence of the ghouls and gargoyles that Scooby-Doo warned of earlier.

Then, it’s time to be afraid… kind of afraid!

Perched precariously on an elevated turntable the car is turned 180 degrees to face the fate awaiting its anxious passengers.

Transfixed by an apparently infinite tunnel of emerald green laser light the riders are lurched forward into the shimmering abyss as the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster Ride propels riders through infinite voids, passing ghost-like through shimmering walls, floors and ceilings of light and speeding into tunnels of green swirling mist.

Finally, plunging over seven meters on the adrenalin-pumping journey, guests are hurtled towards a grotesque creature and the ‘ring of life’.

The Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster Ride with its ever-changing web of penetrating green laser beams, bumps, breathtaking drops and special effects thrills and excites every rider.

The multi-million dollar blockbuster, Scooby-Doo, was filmed at Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios on the Gold Coast in 2000/2001 and is the highest budget production ever filmed in Queensland to date.

Join Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Gang for the scariest, spookiest, spine-tingling rollercoaster ever created – Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster Ride.

Visit Warner Bros. Movie World on Australia’s Gold Coast – where movie magic happens everyday!

I’ve never heard of Warner Bros. Movie World, but it sounds pretty neat.  Too bad I didn’t make it over there a few years ago – I also found out they used to have a Marvin the Martian 3-D movie, but they replaced it with Shrek 4D.  That stinks; I would have liked to see that; I’m a big fan of Marvin the Martian.  Oh well, hopefully by the time I get to Australia they’ll still have the Scooby-Doo coaster.  If only we could increase the budget we have for the haunted attraction we’re building by a few million so we could add a coaster…

And I didn’t end up using “The Roller Coaster Gang” as my show to put on the list.  By the time I was done being distracted with looking up Australian thrill rides, I thought of another show I put instead – one whose title I was sure about.  Belle and Sebastian was a Nickodeon cartoon that was about an orpaned boy named Sebastian and his big white dog, Belle.  Each episode would follow the pair (along with a small dog named Poochie who would fit into Sebastian’s pocket) as they ventured through the mountains looking for Sebastian’s mother.  People would always mistake Belle for a ferocious dog or sometimes even some kind of snow monster.  I loved that show – wonder if Sebastian ever found his mother?