Yesterday at a team meeting we were discussing the use of dramatised readings in our liturgies. This is a great way of giving people who are not on the readers’ roster an opportunity to dip their toes into the water, and it adds colour and interest to your services.
It is not necessary to have any rehearsal for such readings, as long as the Narrator has a little preparation. In practical terms, the Narrator can be the person rostered on to do the reading, and then it is his/her responsibility (or the Worship leader’s) to find people to read the other parts (which will often be only one or two).
At our meeting one member mentioned a large tome called “The Dramatised Bible” which was certainly useful in its day. With the advent of free Bible texts online it is now redundant to purchase such a book.
Here is what you need to do (not much!):
- Look up the relevant passage (usually one with some lively dialogue in it!)
- Make sure to check the “remove verse numbers” box if that will be helpful (and note the other options here)
- Use CTRL + a to select all the text, or use your mouse instead (click and drag)
- Use CTRL + c to copy the text into your computer’s clipboard
- Open your word processing program. (If you don’t have one, you can register for Google Docs for free, or download the free software package OpenOffice (a big download, but it rivals Microsoft Office for features)
- Paste the text into a new blank document (CTRL + v) or right-click, select paste
- Decide whether to print out the text in a larger font. 14 or 15 point is great for reading aloud
- Now do some judicious editing: Make sure the beginning of the reading makes sense in context – if not, you could write in a few words to provide context. Remove unessential linking phrases like “After these things” and edit out all the “then he said” (and similar) text that you wouldn’t normally read in a script.
- Make sure that you create enough paragraphs for legibility
- Now there are some options for indicating who reads what:
- Print out the copies you need, and use a highlighter to indicate each person’s lines OR
- If you have only a small number of parts, you can select the text for each part and use underlining for one voice and bold for another voice and italics for yet another voice (&c) – leaving the narrator’s part in plain type
- If you are using a colour printer, you can use different colours instead or even as well – but check for colour legibility.
Once you get used to this, it is a ten-minute job.
TIP: If you are having problems getting readers of scripture to stop fumbling about in Bibles and reading the wrong bits and including paragraph headings and other crimes of liturgy, providing nice big print lections (readings) can save your remaining sanity and that of the congregation!!!
See the next Posting for an example dramatised reading for Easter 3