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

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Le tour Eiffel

We had a trés bon (what else?) dinner near the tower.

Bon nuit, Paris

The Scotsman ran a follow-up article to The Daily Telegraph piece

Chariots of Fire sequel to chart Liddell's life in Japanese PoW camp

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What a closing!

I took a jog part way up Arthur's Seat, where the scene in Chariots of Fire is filmed: "God made me for a purpose: for China. But He also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure." At the last performance we had an opera singer who attended the show that said the film, and in particular that line, inspired her to sing professionally. She said Beyond the Chariots inspired her to do even more.

Holyrood Palace

We were able to take a tour of the Queen's official residence in Scotland, because she's at Balmorral, only a few miles from the farm house where we stayed for our St. Andrews get-away.

Holyrood means holy cross. The palace got its name because the chapel held a relic, which was said to be part of the Lord's cross at Calvary.

What a gorgeous view!

St. Margaret's Chapel

This oldest building in Ediburgh sits at the pinnacle of The Castle.

The Edinburgh Castle

The journalist who put us in The Daily Telegraph swung comp tickets into The Castle.

Scotland's most famous athlete

This statue of Eric Liddell is on The University of Edinburgh campus, not far from a display that names him Scotland's most famous athlete.

The Day After

The day after we closed, an article ran in The Daily Telegraph: Chariots of Fire, the sequel, off the blocks. It led the Spy column, trumping Paris Hilton and Kelly Osbourne.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Eric Liddell's Olympic medals

Theses are Eric Liddell's three Olympic medals: gold for the 400m, bronze for the 200m in which he was within a second of both Jackson Scholz and Charles Paddock, and a medal for participation. His daughter, Patricia, donated them to The University of Edinburgh.

Housing in a crowded city

One of the huge obstacles in bringing Beyond the Chariots to the Fringe was housing. The city of Edinburgh swells to up to six times its normal population as the Fringe, International Festival, Book Festival and Film Festival all take place simultaneously. Our friend Chuck put us in touch with Brian and Fiona, who had just moved to the city. In the fortnight we stayed with them we became great friends.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Zimbabwe

After the show today we had lunch with a couple of attendees originally from Zimbabwe. They moved to Scotland because conditions there are getting worse, quite literally, on a daily basis. Strong companies give raises twice a month to keep up with inflation.

We have what sounds to be a favorable article coming out on Beyond the Chariots in The Daily Telegraph, a paper that covers the whole UK. It will be on page 6 on Tuesday, the day after our final Fringe performance.

Zimbabwe's struggles put this in perspective.

The Anderson family

I was shocked to see the Andersons at yesterday's show. Jim was a conductor at the Salvation Army music & arts Territorial Music Institute in Oklahoma, where I taught drama last month. I knew he and his wife had grown up in Edinburgh, but they told me they wouldn't be here during the Fringe. They're plans changed, and they treated us to lunch. Thanks guys!

My connection to them gave us credibility when I asked the corps officer at Jim, Sr.'s corps to borrow a trumpet for the length of the run.

Thanks again!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another Herald article

The Herald confirmed through Liddell's eldest that he did, in fact forfeit his opportunity to leave the internment camp. He gave his place to a pregnant woman: The inspirational story of an athletics legend is still being written.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chariots of Fire opening flashback

This 400 year old golf course was where the British athletes stayed before setting sail for the Paris Olympics in Chariots of Fire. We had a cream tea here after hurdling these white fences and running on the beach.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A beautiful ride up the Firth of Fourth

Off for St. Andrews

When Eric Liddell left Waverly Station for China there were so many people cheering that he couldn't make himself heard. So he led them in a hymn.

Tomorrow's my only day off at the Fringe, so we're spending it in St. Andrews.

The Dining Room

During the school year, this is the Dining Room for the student union building for Edinburgh University. Since Eric Liddell lived less than 100m away while he was a student here, chances are quite good that he ate some meals here. For the Fringe they've adapted it into one of the best theatres we've had for Beyond the Chariots.

Our venue

We tried to perform Beyond the Chariots at the church where Eric Liddell taught Sunday school, but The Gilded Balloon, which we secured hours before our deadline as a last resort, turns out to be one of the best venues of the Fringe! There are almost 100 shows on, and there's the Liddell link that he ate lunches in the space we perform.

McEwan Hall

This is where Eric Liddell graduated, and it's less than 100m from where we're performing Beyond the Chariots.

Pasted onto a poster outside our theatre

Fantastic, believable performance, delivered with energy and emotion--Thank you!
*****

A review of Chariots of Fire

After my performance yesterday Joyce and I had lunch with a gal who is working on her PhD from Cambridge. She did her undergrad work at Regent in Vancouver, BC, so we talked about Ron Reed, who is the artistic director of Pacific Theatre there. He happened to host the CITA conference that convinced me to move to NYC. Imagine my surprise to read his blog that night and discover that he'd just blogged on Chariots of Fire: Soul Food Movies.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

*****

This is a FAB show! It was fascinating to see the rest of the life of Eric Liddell, of "Chariots of Fire" fame; knowing it is a true story adds thought-provoking significance. Plus, as someone who has lived in Asia for four years, I am VERY impressed with the actor's grasp of Chinese language AND culture as he plays multiple roles! This is a show not to be missed--I saw it in the States first and would gladly see it again!

--Loch Winona, United States

A great kirk in Edinburgh

Tonight we attended Destiny Church, just off of Kirk Street. A kirk is a Scottish church, and there are about four of them on or near the street.

This kirk bought a large building when they had 50 people. Now they have close to 400 at three services.

The guest preacher tonight, Ivan, is from Italy, but he's now based in India, where he's helped start about 20 churches, orphanages and a home for widows.

He helped about a dozen people become a part of God's amazing offensive of love. Click on "My Passion" in the right column to see what I'm talking about.

Lots of kirks in Edinburgh

Saturday, August 18, 2007

encouraging quote

I have just returned from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, having seen Beyond the Chariots. I thought it was BRILLIANT and marvelously performed. I would like to know if there are any plans to perform it in London?
—Susan Beck


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Eric's sacrifice

We arrived in Edinburgh to an article about Eric Liddell in The Herald, one of Scotland's largest dailies. The piece, titled Did Eric Liddell turn down freedom to help another prisoner-of-war?, tells how British Olympics officials were recently told by high-level officials in Weifang, where Liddell had been interned during WWII, that he turned down a chance at freedom. The Olympics officials didn't seem to have been given many details, but evidently Winston Churchill had arranged for Liddell to be set free in exchange for a high-level Japanese prisoner. Liddell, in characteristic self-sacrifice, asked that another inmate be released in his stead.

I've already worked it into Beyond the Chariots.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Top Five

Our friend, Melissa Hawkin's play, Juliet, has been listed among the top five most promising shows at the New York Fringe Festival by New York Magazine. Click for the full list.

The Edinburgh opening

Eric Liddell: He was a hero here 82 years ago: Rugby Internationalist and Olympic champion. He lived about 100m from here. When he graduated 100m away on the other side the provost said, "Mr. Liddell, you've proven that none can pass you but the examiner." And right in this room, he ate lunch. No one passed him to get seconds either.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Au revoir, France

Marseille Cow Parade

The last time we were in Monte Carlo they were hosting a Cow Parade. The artsy bovines have made their way to Marseille.

Badger

Badger is the president of the Southern Oregon Chapter of Harley-Davidsons for Christ (www.BlackSheepHDfC.org). He came to at least two of my performances there last week.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Beach Time

A few years ago, after a performance in Barcelona, Joyce and I drove up the French Riviera as far as St. Tropez. Then, when she had business in Nice a couple of years ago we drove up to Italy and down to Cannes. On this trip we tried to complete the cirucuit. We drove south from Cannes and stopped at this beach in what we thought was the next village. I swam out to the floating dock you can see just to the right of the palm tree and spoke French to some Italians. After driving a while we saw Cannes with a red line through it, indicating we were leaving the city and had been at a Cannes beach. I was glad because the rest of the towns we came to had beaches at the bottoms of cliffs. We got as far as Fréjus before end-of-the-day beach traffic and a 3:30 wake-up call forced us to the freeway. Click here to see our route. Of the 23 countries I've visited, driving along the French Riviera is among the most exhilarating international experiences I've had. There's never a straightaway of more than 100 yrds, and the scenery is breathtaking.

St. Paul de Vence

My friend Robert Fresco recommended a stop in this amazing village. Unfortunately we missed the time that La Colombe d'Or was open to the public. There future greats like Matisse would doodle on a napkin in exchange for a meal. They're now framed, but we couldn't even catch a glimpse.

Monte Carlo

Friday, August 10, 2007

Buisson

This is the little village nearest our chez. I've been running each morning in this glorious countryside, but when I saw this view (which the photo hardly does justice) I cut my run short to go back for my Treo.

The snails in the foreground seem to have been painted over when the traffic cone was retouched.

A city on a hill

Séguret.

La vue est magnifique!

Domitian

Scholars believe he was emperor when John was writing The Revelation.

Still in use

This ancient Roman theatre at Vaison-la-Romaine is set for a concert series here.

The guide said this is where the people would come to learn the language and morals.

Fontaine de Vacluse

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Villedieu

French BBQ

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Boisson

Beauty everywhere you look!

There are legumes of some sort growing from this vine.

Le centre de Boisson

200 years old?

No. This house is just a good actor. Everywhere you look it appears to be centuries old, but it was built 15 years ago.

A woman from Brussells owns it. She doesn't rent it out. She just donated a week's use of it for the MS Society.

Nous maison pour la semaine

Joyce's father bid on this house for a week to support the MS Society. He was kind enough to invite us along.

What an incedible way to recharge between our very full June and July and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Mercí, Papa!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

En route a Buisson

We're driving to a little villa called Buisson, where we'll stay until heading for Edinburgh.

That villa appears to be carved right out of the rock.

300 km/hr

We're cruising at 300 km/hr (186 mi/hr). That's 131 km/hr slower than the MagLev, which runs at 431 km/hr (268 mi/hr).

Premature post

I hit the wrong button and posted that last one before leaving the link for info on the MagLev: RichDrama.com/NewsBlog (January 2007).

Cleared

We're at the airport in Paris and were just waylaid by a suspicious package. There was a whistle and an explosion. Whether it blew up or was only blown up we're not sure, but we're on our way again. Thanks for your prayers!

Flying over France

Monday, August 06, 2007

The other Fringe

Joyce and I are en route for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but we have two friends performing in the NYC Fringe:

Melissa Hawkins is performing an amazing piece called Juliet. It's about a woman who was sent to a gulag in Romania because her husband (imprisoned elsewhere) was a pastor. It's well acted and well directed. It will be at the Independent Theater, 52 W 8th St: August 10 (9:30pm), 12 (noon), 16 (7pm), 18 (2:30pm), 22 (4:30pm) and 24 (3pm). For tickets, location and times go to www.FringeNYC.org. For more information about the play visit www.juliet-tour.com.

I haven't seen Eric Daniel's piece, Le Messager du Jazz/The Jazz Messenger, but he's another Graceworks (GraceworksInc.com) trainer, so I'm sure it will be good. The story takes place during Germany's occupation of France. "...clashing ideologies pit military force against jazz intuition." It will be at The Villager Theatre, August 10, 11, 13, 18 & 22. For tickets, location and times go to www.FringeNYC.org. For more information about the play visit www.jazzmessengerplay.com.

26 hours in Manhattan

Now we're off to France!

Bittersweet memories

I was thrilled when I found out that my 20th high school reunion would be during the same weekend I was performing in that area. Then it dawned on me that two of the three performances would be going on at the same time as the reunion festivities. I boogied over to the venues after my performances, and many old friends were still there.

I've heard a lot of people say they don't like reunions. I love them! It's magical to see how people have grown up, raised families and collectively accomplished SO much.

I got to give a speech at my high school graduation so I did a rap, while Tyler Ryerson, Sr. Prez, backed me up with a beat box rythm:

Well we're the graduating class of Phoenix HS
Goin' out into the world to do our best
In work, in college and military.
If you come from Phoenix, say, "Don't mess with me!"

Going to the reunion was like stepping into a time capsule and seeing how dreams have been fulfilled.

I also spoke with many who have endured physical and emotional pain, and I was glad to share those memories as well.

Less than a month after graduation one of our classmates took his own life. Several of us gathered at his grave to remember him...and wish that he were still there.

I told the group that Brian and I had been out on a run one day when I sensed I was supposed to tell him how much God loved him. I held back. Who knows if it would have changed things. I've regretted that for 20 years, but I told them it's made me take more risks in life. I don't know if that made any sense to you guys, but what I meant was that I've been more likely to follow God's still small voice and less likely to pass it off as a suggestion. Then I pulled out the cornet I'd played in high school and played taps.

If you don't know how much God loves you visit RichDrama.com and click on "My Passion."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Three in three

I performed three different plays back to back at Trail Christian Fellowhip: Beyond the Chariots, Big Fish Little Worm, and The Revelation. It's the first time I've done that, but the Lord carried me through it. A big thanks to those of you that were praying.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pastors praying for pastors

For the next three nights I'm performing three plays at Trail Christian Fellowship. Today they were on rotation to host for a lunch for all the pastors in the area. Though I spoke and performed I had a four minute limit. The main focus was fellowship and prayer for each others' congregations. They keep themselves from veering toward any kind of planning. These guys are from all sorts of denominations, and it encouraged me so much to hear them lifting each other up as well as people around the world.

Too slow

That's where four buck deer and a jack rabbit just crossed my parents' driveway. You'll just have to imagine.