"A noodle is just like a doodle, only the opposite. You see, a doodle is something you do without thinking anything. But a noodle is something you think without doing anything."
So proclaimed a beaming teen-ager, brightly clad in T-shirt and denims, and the musical "A Bag of Noodles" was on its way. "Noodles," a sprightly collection of skits and songs about Christian living, was written and performed by the senior high youth group of St. Luke Lutheran Church of Silver Spring. The musical is based on a book of the same name by St. Louis advertising executive Waaly Armbruster.
The cast recently gave a performance at Montogomery Blair High School before about 1,100 people. It finished a holy season tour of seven churches Sunday at St. Paul's lutheran Church in Cumberland, Md.
The audience responded with applause for many of their skits and songs. "Noodles" are short messages that look at the world through a slightly skewed angle, causing the audience to start thinking about the moral aspects of everyday life. The messages are often unsubtle, but effective.
For instance, in a number where a cast member yells, "I love everybody . . . except - ."
"Loudmouths," replies one of the 48 cast members lined up in choral fashion across the stage. The first speaker, obviously hurt, turns around. "Catholics," intones another, and a few more turn round. "Handicapped people," says another, and so on down a line of verbal labels until everyone on the stage has been "killed off with worlds."
Director Roney Shawe, who has been associated with small local theaters, is the church's director of dramatic activity, and has projects going periodically with all age Associate Pastor David Shaheen, youth group minister, in what they call a "ministry through the arts."
"We are trying to get the kids to relate what they do on the stage to what they do in life," "Pastor David," as he is called, said of the "Noodles" project.
THe writing was done on Sunday evenings when the senior high group, whose members attend six area high school met with Shawe and Shaheen to decide which "Noodles" to present.
"They sort of digested these noodles," Shawe explained. "Some of them they chewed up and spit out because they didn't like them . . . The 'Food for Life' song (the first of th show) was done when the whole group sat down and listed all the goods they could think of ," the end line saying, "Noodles are the food for life."
Most of the music was written by David Burhrnroth, a student at Hamma Theological School near Wittenburg College in Ohio.
Two of the songs were written by students - "Hey, Man" about why a father (God) would want to send his son (Jesus) to a dangerous place (Earth) was written by Kelly Anderson, and "Circles," by Jenny Heinbaugh.
Most of the rest were written "one rainy day" by Shawe, in addition to dialogue. Shawe said all the ideas were provided by the group. "I just took them and put them into dialogue form, and created a skit where they hadn't already done so."
Shawe feels the teen-agers' values flavor the "Noddles." "There is an undercurrent (throughtout the show) of the things that are important to these young people. They are not as concerned with drugs as they are with teen-age alcoholism. One of the skits pointed out that alcoholism is a serious problem among teen-agers.
No scenery was used. Lighting and stage direction suggests the settings. In one skit, a young man approaches a woman in a shopping center asking for a donation for his sathletic team.
"We hardly enough for our own needs," she replies. "Excuse me, I have to go to pick my hair appointment. Then I have to pick up the kids from dance class, tennis lessons, etc." Then she rushed away across the "parking lot."
Author Armbruster, said in a telephons interview that he didn't realize when he wrote the little stories and observations in "Noddles" that it was a Christian book until it was in print in 1972.
He spent the group a 10-foot-long brown paper note after he saw their production. The paper reflects the brown paper covers of both his book and the group's theaer program .
It said in part: "The sauce and spice and texture you added to the original noodles made then the more delicious.
Sahwe recalls that in Boca Raton, Fla. at Advent Lutheran Church, a70-year-old man approached the group after the show with tears in his eyes.
"I hope you don't mind that I'm really choked up," Shawe recalls teh man saying. "In matters of the heart, there is no generation gap. The things that matter the most, matter to everybody."