Friends of the Groom

Friends of the Groom

Theater Company, Terrace Park, OH

  1. Your performances are necessarily short, flexible, and lean. If you were not limited by time or resources, what biblical story would you like to interpret? 

    In medieval times, mystery play cycles covered the entire narrative of scripture from creation to the last judgment. It might be a challenge to create a contemporary version of such a cycle using multiple playwrights and theater companies. If I weren’t limited to strictly Biblical material, however, it would be exciting to stage all the fictional works of C.S. Lewis.  

  2. FoG is entering its 33rd year. Congratulations! What challenges and opportunities have you faced in maintaining your ministry? 

    When I look back over the years, I’m a little amazed at how we’ve moved forward one year at a time. I’d almost have to call it a “manna in the wilderness” business plan—we always have just enough resources for one day and no more. For example, when the recession hit in 2008, we faced an apparent drop in our bookings.  Instead of scheduling trips a year and a half ahead, we found ourselves only booking about six months in advance, and some periods of the year passed with no performances at all. Amazingly, however, we’ve always managed to get to the end of each year doing about the same amount of work as the year before—by taking last minute requests and packing twice as much into half the time in certain months.  The same is true for our fundraising efforts—we always seem to have just enough donations and no more. It’s a history with a built-in challenge of anxiety, but also many opportunities to tell the story of God’s faithfulness. 

  3. Can you describe the writing process as you select scriptures and present their messages in contemporary terms? 

    When we’re adapting a piece of scripture, the process is essentially one of translation. I try to stay true to the events of the text, but find ways to creatively present them using current images. Of course, I’ll interject my own thoughts and interpretation as I personally wrestle with the story. I think it’s important for artists to reveal their hearts in their work, and not just their technique. We also perform material not based on scripture. In those cases, it still begins when I find a story to tell. I find if I can tell an interesting story, the other theatrical elements usually fall into place.

  4. How do you see the role of the arts in spiritual formation? 

    Good art always shows more than it tells. In this regard, it’s incarnational: Art can put flesh on the words of scripture, on the words of the church, on the words of the Holy Spirit whispering inside us.  And when it comes to the really important things in life—love, faith, relationship—we only truly learn them when we see them acted out or we act them out ourselves. The arts provide a powerful arena where this can happen.  

  5. What question do you wish we would ask you? 

    How can I include Friends of the Groom in my will?