Amazon.com Widgets The Swingles' Dramatic Developments: July 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where Eric Liddell taught Sunday School

The Morningside United Church, where Eric Liddell taught Sunday school, just included a little ad for our Edinburgh Festival Fringe run of Beyond the Chariots in their August newsletter.

What great reports!

I'm finishing up an independant film with Jed Kasica (John and Paula's son) here in St. Louis. Recently Mrs. Kasica reported that the doctors announced her sister's brain tumor was completely gone! As you may remember, we did an enacted prayer for her sister during improv worship on the fourth of July. God is so good.

Sincerely,
Kaelen

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rebloggable

I know I've posted pictures of the view from where I grew up, but it blows me away every time I visit. Can't believe I took it for granted as a kid.

Medford Friends Youth

I got to speak to the youth group where I grew up 20 years ago. I felt like I was encouraging myself as a teen.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Group hugged

I got group hugged by the acting students of the Salvation Army's Southern Territorial Music Institute. For the first time in 49 states and 23 countries I missed my flight! I was overjoyed. I don't have a performance until Thursday, so I was glad to experience solo night and sit in on one more class session.

When I got to the airport today my flight was oversold, so I put my name on the list to get bumped. I was going to rent a car to see the preview performance and join you for worship tomorrow morning, but people didn't show up for the flight, so they forced me to board. The performance is going on as I write, so I've been lifting you up and will continue to do so tomorrow for the finale. Lord bless each of you!
Rich

Who let the dog in?

During our 10 hours of improv training from Mark Oppenlander at MasterWorks Omar kept reminding us of the importance of "Yes, and..." That's taking what comes and adding to it.  Last night while performing Beyond the Chariots in Welling, Oklahoma, (the end of the Trail of Tears) I reached the scene in which Eric Liddell is in the hospital bed, dying.  Just then, a dog yelped outside.  I found out later it was Boots Barrington, who was picking a fight with a cat.  I said, in my best educated Scots, "Who let the dog in?"  The crowd burst into laughter, so I followed it up: "Don't let him get any of the rations!"  Again they howled (but thankfully the dog had stopped).  I capped it with, "Tell him he can catch the rabbits now."  The audience laughed harder, which set up the poignancy of the rest of the scene like nothing else could.

One of the great joys of acting is when you feel so close to the character you're portraying that you tap into their reactions.  In a one-man play, you can actually act upon them without throwing your fellow actor!  I've read so often, and heard from those that knew him, that Liddell had an amazing sense of humor, even in the most difficult of times.  I don't think I've ever captured it better.  

Thanks for the inspiration, Boots!

By the way, several people have asked me if Eric actually did catch rabbits.  It's true.

Scottish conductor

I'm performing and teaching at the Salvation Army's Southeast Territorial Music Institute, where their drama contingent has grown to 25. No theatrics at this midweek concert. Pictured directing is Scot, James Anderson.

Upstream of Nawlins

We're not far from the Illinois River, which flows into the Mississippi, which flows past New Orleans. So we're being blessed with some Dixeyland jazz. This tune is, not surprising, "Down by the River Side."

Dankie vell

Colonel Dick Krommenhoek, from The Netherlands, directs this choir. His wife, from Denmark, directed us all in Jewish dancing last night.

They're an amazing couple. They challenged me to think even more globally.

Dan Proctor

...and in the airport en route I ran into Dan Putnam. No joke.

A great transition

This was my first stop in Oklahoma. It's called Echota House, and it really is just a house, but the food is amazing. I had samplings of quail, buffalo steak and trout. Oh, and a berry cobbler that I finished before taking my next breath.

Out with a bang!

We shared some leftover fireworks with the students who left late. Our wonderful hosts Bill & Judy got permission from the police department to shoot them out over Winona Lake.

Our students are now exploding into the world with freshly honed skills and dynamic inspiration.

Illuminate your campuses, theatre companies and auditions!

Well done!

What an incredible culmination of a month's hard work. I couldn't be more proud of this amazing cast! I saw each of them grow so much artistically and in their relationships with the Lord. Their hard work really paid off. We had four solid performances, and people were thanking us for things in the play we hadn't seen ourselves. They did so well that next year I'm bringing in a casting director.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Omar

This year we were blessed with a 10-hour improv intensive by Mark "Omar" Oppenlander, who was the improv captain at Taproot Theatre Co. in Seattle. Though he attended George Fox University with me, we had fallen out of touch. I was reintroduced by Jen Matthews, who pictured here alongside Omar.

For our closing program we performed an hour of improv, then did almost three hours of enacted prayer! It was only interrupted by some fireworks and some improvisational worship.

Opera shone

It's not a comedy...

...though on the night of the unGong Show some of our actors (and writer Christi Mahan) brought some much-needed levity to such a heavy play by spoofing it with "Crucicle the Musical: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Salem Witch Trials."

The '07 White Board of Folly Oaths

The Crucical Chorus Line

Ken Wales

Ken Wales (actor in 34 films opposite James Dean, John Forde and the like, and filmmaker on all the original Pink Panther films, The Tamarind Seed, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Party, Christy and Amazing Grace) blessed our theatre department for four days. He critiqued a runthrough of The Crucible and met one-on-one with every student but one (he gave him his personal phone number because he ran out of time). He said to post how much he loves our students.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Edwina Findley

Edwina (Law & Order, The Wire, One Life to Live) worked with our students on their monologues and character work. She gave her all until past the last minute and texted me with the following: "I just boarded the plane with a record 4 minutes til takeoff!!"

Meals at MasterWorks

They have quite a variety here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What would you die for?

Dr. Kavanaugh brought me up on stage during our final worship service. He stuck the rifle we used in The Crucible up to my chest and told me he'd kill me or shut down a certain fast food chain. I let them and all their fans down. Then he said he'd shoot me if I didn't give him all my possessions. I told him he could have them. Then he asked if I'd die for my bride, Joyce. I said, "Without hesitation." Then he said, "Curse Jesus or I'll blow you away." "Blow me away," I responded.

Dr. Kavanaugh then told the students they should know what they'd die for. Then he said, "Now ask yourself what you're going to live for." He encouraged us to spend our lives on people.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dance Week is over

The dancers were amazing! They obviously worked quite hard. Next weekend brings opera, and after that the theatre department will present Arthur Miller's The Crucible: MasterWorksFestival.org.

A piano tuner who loves Jesus

Franz Mohr spoke this morning in our worship service. He was the piano tuner for great pianists like Horowitz, Cliburn and Rubinstein.

He was 16 when his village was completely wiped out by American B-17s. He put his hand over his mother's mouth to keep her from praying. He told her there was no God.

Years later he was in a Bible study to argue, but the leader was filled with so much love Mohr didn't know how to counter it with hate. The leader gave him a Bible and wrote his address inside, telling Mohr that one day he would write to say that he'd given his life to the Lord.

The Bible sat on his shelf for many years, but one day he opened it and started reading from page one.

By the time he read through Matthew he was ready to give his life to the Lord, but he didn't know how to pray, because all the prayers of his youth were written, and none of them fit. He remembered the thief on the cross and called out to Jesus: "Remember me!" He said, "The Lord changed my heart from a heart of hate to a heart of love."

If you've never asked the Lord to do that for you, click "My Passion" in the right column.

To find out more about Mohr's story, order his book, "My Life with the Great Pianists."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

master classes for MasterWorks Theatre

All sessions are in free, open to the public, and held in McLain Auditorium unless otherwise noted.

7/3, 8:30pm-?
Actor Coaching in Hollywood

7/4, 8:30pm-?
Improv performance with students

7/11, 1:45-2:45
testimony
Edwina has said she wants to stick around after the session to answer questions.

7/15, 7:30-?
Ken Wales will give a brief talk during the faculty recital in Rodeheaver Auditorium, then afterward he will invite people to stick around and he'll answer questions until curfew at 11.  He may stick around for those who don't have curfew.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The round barn

Rusty made this round barn out of a cereal canister. He covered it with strips of wood less than 1/4" wide. It reminds me of one my grandparents took my brother Bob (Lightbourne.com) and me to visit when we were kids.

Over 100 engines

...and story after story told in miniature.

Let's play trains

Our friend John Kasica, percussionist for the St. Louis Symphony, introduced us to Rusty, who's laid out the model train track, which stretches out behind them. At 91 it's keeping him youthful.

Sleepers Awake!

Patrick Kavanaugh, who founded the MasterWorks Festival with his wife, Barbara, is preaching on 2 Kings 6:8-17. He encouraged those who feel like they're the only Christian in their orchestra, theatre company or school to see that we're not alone even if we are the only Christian, because the host of heaven are backing us up.

He urged us to consider how we can maximize our lives for Christ. People ask him when he's going to retire and he says, "When I go above!" We only have this lifetime to share God's love for the world.

For a season he felt compelled to share the Gospel every day. After one very long day he was climbing into bed and it occurred to him that he hadn't shared that day. He climbed into his car and drove to a gas station, where there was biker on his hog. Dr. Kavanaugh told him the situation and asked if he could share with the man. They both had a good laugh, but the man agreed to listen. After he heard about God's great love for him the man shared that he was on the way to commit suicide. He wasn't ready to commit his life to Christ, but it seemed clear that he would have many more years to think about it.

To find out more about God's great love for you, click here.