Theme Show, Wednesday, August 5, 1998
The stage in the Hilton Coliseum was a cemetery shrouded in eerie purple and green lights as we entered for the 1998 NOAC Theme Show. A fog was drifting across the floor as we took our seats and enjoyed the pre-show entertainment. Lodges used banners, flags, body paint, and many other things to draw the attention of the cameramen. Answer Boy appeared again to answer questions about Miss Teenage America's arrival and the location of Ames. The "Lenny Loosejocks" cartoon made another appearance as well. Arcoon Lodge #369 won the LottOA drawing.
The show began with a description of New Orleans, the site for the story, accompanied by slides of the city. Chris, the main character, is a 16 year old who knows that he is going to die. To prepare himself and his mourners he decides to make a video to be played at his funeral. He tells everyone that they should look forward and have visions for their future. He quotes the scripture passage "and where there is no vision, life shall perish from the earth," and tells the audience to think about that. He then tells everyone to "remember the past; imagine the future. Have a party!"
In the next scene we find out that Chris wants his father to give his backpack to his four best friends. It contains a video from Chris and instructions to watch it before they leave the cemetery. Jack, Brad, Lucien, and Trey, the four friends, are told by Chris, in the video, to stay in the cemetery and read through a set of note cards prepared for them. Each set of cards has a specific task they are to perform and they only have thirty minutes to do them.
Reading the note cards first are Jack and Trey, with lines from the Pre-Ordeal ceremony. Jack is given the first test and must fall back into the arms of his friends from the top of a tomb.
Trey is the next one to be tested and is instructed to enter the tomb to retrieve an unknown "booty," as in treasure, which takes some coaxing. He eventually enters it and finds a soccer ball, appropriate because Brad and Chris had played on the soccer team together.
Brad is the next friend to be challenged. His task is to get exactly 4 quarts of water using only one 3-quart bucket and one 5-quart bucket. He finds it difficult, but succeeds with Jack's help.
The final challenge is for Lucien. He is instructed to go to a high place and listen. Jack and Trey have more ceremonial lines on their cards and read them at this time. Lucien doesn't understand what the test is and seems very confused until the video of Chris comes back on. Chris tells Lucien that his challenge is for him to keep his promises and listen to others more.
Chris says he has to go and the friends all become angry. Chris anticipated this and the video tells the friends that if they are angry then he is angry. He tells them to listen as he plays REM's "Everybody Hurts" before turning it down and finishing his video message. He tells his friends to look at the quote on a tomb near where they are. His final words on the video are a quote from Kitchkinet in the Ordeal Ceremony. "This ordeal is but a shadow of the rigors of the journey, but its joys also are shadows of the brighter, greater beauty in a life of cheerful service. Now with courage on this first step follow me, and these my brothers. Let us try to find the Arrow!"
The friends repeat the lessons of knowing what it means to be friends, the meaning of brotherhood, and how important it is to treat each other well. They check the quote on the tomb and read it to the audience. Jack says, "it's a quote from the Bible. 'A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." Green Day's "Time of Your Life" played as a laser light show began. The laser show lasted for about 20 minutes, accompanied by pyrotechnics and ending with James Brown's "Living in America." The NOAC Shows Staff was given a standing ovation and an excited group of 7,000 Arrowmen left the Coliseum with smiles on their faces.
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