First, I’m a fan not a critic. This is important and it is pretty much a general principle in my life. I write about a lot of things but I’m not an expert. I’m a fan of food, I’m a fan of music, I’m a fan of travel, I’m a fan of photography – and so much more. Mostly, I am a fan of life.
Fans enjoy things or they don’t. But fans are so much more into sharing what they enjoy than they are assembling a critique of what is disappointing.
The very fact that I am writing about last night’s performance of Mamma Mia at Heritage High School is a big clue, then, that I enjoyed the evening immensely. Fact is Rebekah and I both did. We went – along with Katherine Peiper – primarily because several young people from our church are part of the show, and we had a great time. The show was fun, enthusiastic, extravagant, vibrant, over-the-top, funny, beautifully sung, and simply pulsating with life.
That is what matters, and it’s what makes something like this either work or not. It’s the enthusiasm, the vibrancy, the sense that the young people are passionate, all-in, committed at 110%, nothing left behind.
When it was done, the kids had to have been exhausted. I imagine when the curtain fell they all crumpled on to the stage floor because there must have been absolutely nothing left. Nothing left that I could tell because it was clear they gave everything they had and then some.
All that plus talent:
But let’s not forget the talent. The energy may have been what made it so much fun but there most certainly was a load of talent up there on stage too.
Remember “Fame”, the 80’s television show? I watched a few episodes and – especially when they’d have a big production number – I’d say things like, “That’s impossible, there’s no way a high school could pull off something like that!” Well, it turns out I was wrong.
Mostly, and this goes back to the “life” element of this post, the Heritage High School production of Mama Mia did a lot of the same things for me that Youth Sunday does at our church. These young people are talented, they are motivated, they are committed, they are not afraid of hard work, and they are in love with life.
Take your eyes off the news for a while; avoid looking at the depressing specter of Washington’s amoral political scene; try to forget the social, the religious, and the racial bigotry that defines so much of 21st Century life… and – instead – take a deep draft of the enthusiasm, the optimism, the creativity, and the life represented by so many of our young people. Then be encouraged.
While you’re at it, take a moment to stop and pray for these teens. They are going to need a lot more than enthusiasm and optimism if they are going to make it. They are going to need courage, too. And they are going to need our support, and our encouragement, and our commitment, and our belief.
Bottom line, they need faith. We all do. And remember what faith means? It means belief put into action.
Thanks for the fun evening, Heritage, it was a shot in the arm – DEREK