How to Produce a Children’s Passion Play

Covid-19 continues to take its toll on every aspect of life. On December 20, 2020, something remarkable happened. The children of All Angels’ Church produced and premiered their first video Christmas pageant ever. Time stood still as all watched from all over. We struggled to put words to the grief, joy, loss, excitement, and delight that were stirred up. One viewer simply chatted in: holy ground. Indeed it was.

The Christmas Pageant was barely finished before Erin Moughon-Smith and I began dreaming up a Children’s Passion Play. Here’s what you need to know:

WHAT ROLE DOES MY CHILD HAVE? Always a good place to start. Mary Ellen is confirming parts with families and you can find the cast list here .

HOW INDEPENDENT CAN MY CHILD BE IN PULLING THIS OFF? Another really great question. The 4/5th graders will likely be very independent in their video recording of their own lines. I bet younger kids need to be filmed by a parent. The file naming and uploading probably needs a parents’ touch.

WHEN WILL THE REAL PRODUCTION CRUNCH TIME BE FOR FAMILIES? Kids have been and will continue to rehearse on Sundays on 2/28 and 3/7. Best to aim for recording and uploading March 1 through March 11. We may need to request a redo or two over the March 12-14 weekend. Serious video editing crunch happens March 13 through March 27 with our Passion Play premiering during the Palm Sunday service on March 28, 2021.

OK. I’M GETTING MY HEAD AROUND THIS. Where do you land? A. We’re ready; hope we don’t screw up. B. We need an easier part. C. We actually can’t participate this time. Just shoot me line in the event of B or C.

OK, WE’RE READY TO START

  1. Use your “process” to grasp which scenes/lines need recording. 4/5th grade kids are learning this with Erin in Sunday School. Others will read the script and highlight their lines and scenes. Many characters don’t speak but require some action scenes. The Cast list has a table indicating which scenes contain action and/or lines for the various characters to record. Scripts have been both emailed to you and a hard copy went in the mail today, Thursday, 2/25/21. Complete Passion Play Script here (with the two pages that were previously missing).
  2. Video using your phone in widescreen mode. Use only blank backrounds. Reduce room noise. No special effects, special lighting.
  3. You may choose to record whole scenes leaving blank spaces in between where another character is speaking. Or you may record each line separately.
  4. Title your video files: scene#_character_line# So Peter’s line on the bottom of page 4 would be titled 2_Peter_46
  5. Costumes-lots of bathrobes, head thingies. Have fun.
  6. Upload to scene folders, ex Scene 1, Scene 2. If this is too hard, upload to Passion General folder and I will migrate the files for you.

PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

Sunday, 2/28 9:20-10:00 Kids attend Children’s Worship for rehearsal with Mary Ellen and Erin. Use regular CW link. 11:30 4/5th grade attend SS with Erin for their rehearsal

Sunday, 3/7 9:20-10:00 Kids attend Children’s Worship for rehearsal with Mary Ellen and Erin. Use regular CW link. 11:30 4/5th grade attend SS with Erin for their rehearsal

March 1 through March 11- children should be videoing their parts, naming files and uploading.

March 11th Upload deadline

March 12-14th-some redos may be requested

March 13-27 The production team gratefully accepts takeout deliveries as they pound away on editing and producing. Half LOL.

March 28th; The Children’ Passion Play premiers during the Palm Sunday Sunday livestream service.

Author: Mary Ellen Lehmann

Director of Children & Youth Ministries at All Angels' Church in New York City. Mary Ellen and her husband, Mike, have been married 30 years, and have four children. Several of them are adults.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s