“Something Odd at Quarterly Meeting” . . .
Birmingham Meeting‘s children and youth have used their drama skills and interests to participate in intergenerational programs for Concord Quarterly Meeting over the last twelve years. The young people give a performance that is followed by adults and youth present being invited to respond to wondering questions on issues brought up by the story they share. Various topics have been used for their performances including scripture, Quaker history, and recently a science fiction story!
Practicing the plays, and creating sets and costumes, have been the focus of the late winter and spring religious education program for Birmingham Meeting children and youth. Over the years, meeting members have supported the dramas and preparations: Marty Boston has adapted the scripts for the programs and Gwynne Ormsby directs the plays. Faith & Play stories have also been adapted to be used in this format.
On April 24, 2022, Birmingham Meeting hosted a hybrid Concord Quarterly Meeting program. It was decided to do the story this time as a radio drama, a format that could work well for people attending the program on Zoom as well as those attending in person. After getting permission from the author, the radio drama was adapted from a science fiction story “Something Odd About the Dyers” which was featured in the November 2021 Friends Journal. This story was particularly thought provoking and one that resonated with the youth. The program was advertised as “Something Odd at Quarterly Meeting.”
The radio drama format was inspired by Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion radio show. With Keillor’s format as a model, the youth figured out imaginative ways to create the many sound effects incorporated into the story as they read the script.
Over the years it has been exciting to see how much the young people love to present the dramas and how working on the productions drew them to meeting to prepare for the big day when the show would be presented for the Quarter. Although the core “stars” of the drama were Birmingham young people, there are always ways for other children in Concord Quarter to participate.
The intergenerational discussion after the drama this April was especially rich. If Friends haven’t yet read Mel Stephen Sharpe’s story, “Something Odd About the Dyers” (linked above), please do so, and imagine how the young people animated this thought-provoking story.
– Martha Boston and Gwynne Ormsby, for Birmingham Meeting
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