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Samson and the Haircut
Mickey Schmidt
1/7/2013

Several months ago Sandy Eithun, the handbell choir director for the First Congregational United Church of Christ in New London, Wisconsin, approached the Theatre Ministry Team with the idea of combining to perform Samson and the Haircut – part of the “Ring-a-Story Series” by Tammy Waldrop. Although these stories are comedic in nature, they each present a Biblical lesson. In Samson and the Haircut, the lesson is “Pride goes before a fall”.

For the most part, Samson and the Haircut is narrated by the barber, Shava Yerneck. The other characters, Samson and Delilah, basically pantomime the story. The handbell choir provides the sound effects and some dialogue. After reading the script we added some ideas and two more characters – we called them the ‘Keystone Kings’. They were two young boys who added a lot more action to the pantomime and interaction with Samson and Delilah. We felt that the boys could quickly scamper around, bump into each other and occasionally fall down much easier and faster than adults.

For our set we had a lovely fainting couch with a high back on one end. This was placed in the center of the ‘stage’ with the back to the audience. The reason for this was that the action that took place on the couch would be imagined by the audience rather than seen. When Delilah ‘snuggled‘ up to Samson, when the kings ‘tied’ him up or when Shava gave him the ‘haircut’, the actors’ backs were to the audience and they didn’t actually have to do what the narration said – the audience imagined it.

We had access to two Styrofoam 4’ X 8’ scenery flats that were hinged in the center. These were painted to look like the walls of a city with buildings in the background. We were also able to use two 8-foot pillars that were placed in front of the flats. This area was off to one side and used when Samson broke down the walls.

Some of the costume details used were a ‘muscle’ jacket, wrestling belt and a long wig for Samson. The fellow who played Samson typically shaves his head, so when he got the ‘haircut’, he was bald. When he came back to be tied to the pillars, he wore a short wig. We also gave Shava a curly wig and instead of a barber pole as part of the set, he wore a red and white-stripped sash. Delilah wore a long dress with a band in her hair. The boys who played the kings were the same size and dressed similarly. All of the actors either wore sandals or had bare feet.

Other details were added - The reference to watching ESPN was a movie clip of the chariot race from Ben-Hur. There wasn’t time for Delilah to change clothes as indicated in the script, so she added a feather boa to her outfit. It said that the kings threw cupcakes and pizzas at Samson, so our kings threw small, cardboard circles painted to look
like pizzas.

We had a great time putting all of these ideas together and the audience loved it!
Mickey Schmidt
Handbell Ringer, Theatre Ministry Director


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