Heather Foard, a Park View High School junior, has been pondering how she can combine her faith with her aspirations to be an actress. Her role in the musical “Surrender” this weekend has shed light onto the quandary.
“My big concern is how to combine God and theater,” she said. “This is my first Christian musical. It has been good to see you don’t have to do only basic theater.”
Foard plays Felicia, whom she described as an all-American girl struggling with maintaining an image of perfection when she would rather just be herself. Just before rehearsal Monday, Foard said she hoped the musical would convey the message, “We are a bunch of talented kids who are serious about our faith.”
SIXTEEN MEMBERS of the Sterling United Methodist Church youth group will be presenting “Surrender,” at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m., Sunday. The play tells the story of a choral group struggling to put heart and meaning into their music. With the help of the Servant, who winds his way through choral members’ thoughts, the characters begin to change their hearts and their tune. The church youth director, Phil Mohr, is producer. Robin Duncan is director and Paul Westray is technical director. They are Sterling’s interim choir directors.
The Rev. Randy Duncan plays the part of the Servant, the unseen presence of God in the midst of the cast members. “They can’t see me, but the audience can,” he said. “It’s the key to the real show. The spirit’s work helps the members of the cast understand the true meaning of surrendering to God.”
Duncan is not a newcomer to theater. His favorite role, so far, has been Jesus in the re-enactment of the ‘Last Supper.’ In high school, he played Mr. Bumble in “Oliver.”
DUNCAN’S SON, Robbie, a Park View freshman, plays Eric in “Surrender.”
“He’s the jock, the big tough guy, the coolest guy on earth,” Robbie Duncan said, in describing his character.
He said the musical is very meaningful. “It delivers a message that it’s OK to surrender.”
Desirae Zentz, a Park View junior, agreed. “I hope it teaches other people it’s alright to surrender yourself to God.”
Zentz is Miss Foster, the choral director. She describes the character as someone who thinks “everything is all about her.” She likes the role, because it is unlike her own personality. “It gives me a challenge to perform it.”
Ashleigh Harvey, a 13-year-old River Bend Middle School student, expressed similar sentiments. She plays the part of Heather, who is stuck-up and a follower. “It’s something I’m not, so it’s interesting to play something different.”
Chelsea Clinebell, a Dominion High School sophomore, is Jan, who belongs to the in-crowd. “She has two girls who follow her around, her posse,” she said. “She wants to know God and to love God, but she doesn’t want to give up her material things.”
Clinebell said the musical lets people know that they don’t have to give everything up. “And he will love you whether you are in the in crowd or a dork,” she said.
Herndon High School student Daniel Talbert, 14, plays John, who is a lot like Dopey in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” “Except I’m three times as tall,” he said.
How tall? It’s hard to say, said Talbert. “I’m a little over 6 feet. I grow constantly.”
Emily Bailey, a 12-year-old Seneca Ridge Middle School student, plays Pam, one of Jan’s groupies. “It’s the first speaking role I ever went for in a church pageant,” she said. “Normally I’m very shy.”
MOHR SAID proceeds from the show will be used for the youth group and music programs.
The Rev. Duncan extolled the quality of the production. “We’re very blessed here to have a wealth of talented and dedicated young people who are not afraid to use their talents to present a message.”