Church Stars had the opportunity to speak to Mr. DeMario Carr, visionary and creator of Generation 7 Mime as well as writer and director of "The BoomBox Live A Gospel Mime Stage Play"
CS: How did you come up with the idea to do an entire stage play in mime?
DC: When I was 17 years old the dance ministry began to travel with a stage production entitled, "You Betta Put the Woman First" produced by The late, great David Payton. We traveled extensively and some year’s later, God gave me the concept to perform a play in mime.
CS: Is a mime play written or choreographed to music ?
DC: The entire production is intricately choreographed to gospel music to paint a silent picture. We only have 2 actors that narrate in between songs to help create a level of comedic relief.
CS: Do you decide the message of the play first and pick the music accordingly?
DC: The vision of this play was conceived in 2010 while touring with another production. I then began to write, pray, and incorporate songs that correlated with certain situations that would take place throughout the play.
CS: Many writers dream dreams and the messages flow as the writer writes. How do you create? Do you close your eyes and just go for it in gestures, expression and movement or do you visualize the mime first?
DC: This was actually the first play I have ever wrtiten, and it didn’t come easily, because in the beginning I would over think and try to over compensate not realizing that the true story would be simply told through our movements. So I took time to perfect my writing skills and over time the play began to take an entirely different texture and meaning. When first putting on the show, it was very simplistic but if you were to see it now its mesmerizing to sit and watch a story unfold without anyone necessarily reciting a script. The ideas for choreography began to come as I sat in my room and meditated on certain songs and rhythmic patterns of the music. I call it my ‘painting time” that’s what artists do as they paint a picture and then allow the picture to speak for itself. Daydreaming/meditation plays a huge part in the conception of this play.
CS: Playwrights have that moment in a play where the anointing falls and the message hits, what does that moment feel like for a mime?
DC: When the anointing falls during "The Boombox Live" sometimes it’s hard to move on with the show. Many people in the audience are sometime up on their feet. literally shouting and praising God within the first 20 min of the production and a powerful worship always falls during the finale number. Thirty dancers appear on stage and everyone is on one accord, allowing the spirit of God to move freely. Many shows that we have done, I’ve witnessed how we were unable to even do a curtain call because most of the young people were laid out before God. worshiping and praising. I believe the absence of words forces one to worship from what we know and love about God.
CS; In your opinion what are some of the do's and don't when ministering in mime?
DC: In one major "DON"T is mouthing the words to the song while ministering. As a mime our task is to use our facial expressions, body gestures, and rhythmic syncopation to bring the song to life. Another don’t is that we never want to make a "ministry moment" a time to "perform" or make it about ourselves. In that moment we should simply allow God to rest, rule, and abide at that appointed place and time.
An important thing one must "DO" in mime (or any) ministry is always first present ourselves as a living sacrifice and allow God to use us for His glory. We should be able to usher in the presence of God whether we are in front of a crowd of thousands or at the hospital sick bed of one. It should never be about us, but about God.
CS: Have mime performed stage plays presented more challenges or fewer challenges as far conveying the messages you want audiences to walk away with?
DC: To date, the biggest challenge has been getting the event to a broader audience I have dreams of having this play ministered not only in theater but in churches across the country. The message of this play is real, relevant and thought provoking and the presentation of it (mime stage play)is new to many. It's something they have never seen or even heard of before. That’s one of the next obstacles I’m going to tackle is to take this production across the country. Another difficult task has been getting the older generation to embrace our art form. Because of tradition many have shunned us simply because they don’t believe in it, but we have taken this production and this art form before many people and we have seen lives saved and young people giving their lives to Christ after sitting through this production. So we know that God has His hands on it and we trust that in due season many will grow to love and embrace the gift of mime that God has placed on not just my ministry but ministry all across the world.
CS: Are there any speaking parts in your plays?
DC: Yes, we have a few speaking parts by individuals who narrate and help further tell the story. One deacon Clemson is the school janitor is simply cut and dry the tell it like it is character who is loud and outspoken. Then we have a songstress by the name of Nakia Dunn who play Miss Doris Jenkins, the aggravating cafeteria lady who speaks her mind as she runs her cafeteria with an iron fist but has a heart of gold. She loves and prays for the students she encounters just like they were her own. But these parts absolutely help enhance, when the dancers have already depicted their part through dance ministry.
CS: What skills/qualities do you look for in actors when casting for a mime performed stage play?
DC: During casting calls many would ask, "Are you anointed and has God chosen you to dance?" But I choose dancers who are talented and passionate but have not yet found their rightful place in God; dancers who are straight off the streets or the ones who are not necessarily already in church. I believe it is my job to grab the lives of young people who are not already saved surround them with those who can pour into them, pray with them, and love on them until they can see the love of Christ for themselves. Over time they will adapt to life on stage, bringing energy precision, and most of all the God's love. Many of the dancers I work with are not saved or have recently given their lives to Christ and just need an outlet where they will not be judged or looked at differently. But I offer them a chance to get on stage with us travel and experience true ministry outside of the 4 walls of a church. Traveling from theater to theater here in North Carolina many call and message me and as when is the next show when are we going back on the road and that makes this all worthwhile.
CS: Has writing mime performed stage plays always been your passion? How long have you been writing and producing?
DC: Well I have been in ministry 10 years now and I wrote my first script back in 2009-2010 while seeing news reports of young people committing suicide due to excessive bullying. It struck my heart and I was immediately reminded of years in school being picked on and taunted so I began to write through the pain of my past and maybe it would help change the life of someone who comes to one of the plays. So yes, it has always been my passion.
CS Tell us about your upcoming stage play. I know that you wrote and produced it. Did you also cast and direct it?
DC: I cast and produce the entire show I have 2 other producers Lanika Clark and Pastor Leonard Warren who help with scouting talent and event venues. The story line is about a young girl who has problems at home and is also bullied at. She ultimately makes the decision to take her life. This upcoming production is actually our comeback show we took a year off to rebrand, revise, and perfect this production to iron out the kinks and revamp a few things that would help better the show. We have incorporated a live band, a youth choir, an anti-bullying dance team has joined the cast, along with an amazing step time, all together combined you will see an estimated 30-40 people on stage at one time. This production is an anti-bullying campaign bridging the gap from ministry to the community. We love what we do and we love impacting and helping to change lives.
CS: This stage play is about bullying? What do you want your audiences to walk away with?
DC: When it’s all said and done I want our guests to leave empowered and inspired to “Live Through "It”, whatever that is; especially the youth. Many have testified that they were contemplating suicide due to being bullied and after seeing our production they wanted to have a closer walk with God and we are truly humbled by that. We want our guests to leave with the power to overcome any current situation by trusting and believing that God can and he will deliver us out of whatever situation it is that we are in.
CS: What can we expect in the future from Generation7 Mime Ministry? Where do you see this Ministry in the next 5 years? And do you Mario, as a writer and producer have any other ventures you are interested in?
DC: We are currently in the process of speaking with the school board to have this play performed at schools across the country. We are already in the works with few community leaders who will see to it that we gain the exposure we need to have this production see by as many young people as possible. I myself have been talking to a few producers to have this play filmed as a Mime Motion Picture Full Length Film. God only knows what the future holds but whatever God assigns me to accomplish next I am ready and willing. But I see my team and I traveling from state to state proclaiming that God is real and he loves us through "The BoomBox Live, A Gospel Mime Stage Play".