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.
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.
you describe the writing process as you select scriptures and present their
messages in contemporary terms?
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.
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.
question do you wish we would ask you?
can I include Friends of the Groom in my will?