Widgets The Swingles' Dramatic Developments: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What a great day!

We had a wonderful lunch with my relatives and then drove .4 mile to interview Mary Previte. She's the great grand daughter of Hudson Taylor, and was in the internment camp with Eric Liddell. I was so moved by her stories!

Then we went to the University of Pennsylvania and filmed the plaque that declares the school motto: "In the dust of defeat as well as in the laurels of victory there is glory to be found." Liddell ran at the Penn Relays there and quoted that motto when he spoke. We also met a fellow named Dan who was kind enough to run against me as Eric Liddell.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Moving to NYC

I'm often asked for advice from young actors about moving to New York City. In today's New York Times there's an article about the process: Finding Your First Apartment.

Here are some other pieces of advice:

Sign up at Manhattan Plaza now. It offers subsidized housing for those who make at least 50% of their income from the performing arts. Joyce and I have been on the list for 10 years, and we're now #3 on the list. Yay! When we get in we'll save about $800 a month on our rent. Don't worry if you don't make half of your income from the arts now. They won't ask you to prove it until you work your way pretty far up on the list.

There are often apartment and roommate leads on The Haven's Boards and in Redeemer Presbyterian Church's Classifieds.

My main piece of advice is to find a great church home. Without one your chances of staying true to the Lord and your convictions will be greatly challenged in NYC or any major city...or anywhere.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church has an Art's Ministry.

The Haven is a great fellowship that meets Monday nights (the dark night for most theatres). It's not really a church, since, last I knew they don't have a pastor and sermons, but it's a great place to get connected with other artists. They do have a list of churches in the area.

Our church, Westchester Chapel, is just outside the city, but Joyce and I have been reverse commuting for all 10 years of our marriage because it's such a great (and quite artistically minded) family.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you know of a great fellowship I've left out, please post a comment below and leave a link.

Interview with Ben Stein

Here's a recent interview with Ben Stein about his film, which opened this weekend, about how scientists and teachers who believe in Intelligent Design are being censored: Ben Stein is Expelled!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good films

Joyce and I just watched August Rush. We were both quite moved, and I was a complete mess. It's got some profound stuff in there about how God creates great beauty out of bad choices and orchestrates (pun intended) divine appointments.

We're also going to try to catch Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, in which Ben Stein
...realizes that he has been “Expelled,” and that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired – for the “crime” of merely believing that there might be evidence of “design” in nature, and that perhaps life is not just the result of accidental, random chance.

For a trailer and theatre locator visit Encourage Hollywood to make more of this kind of film by seeing it opening weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Amazing Grace - Just the Black Notes

John Newton was a slave trader before he became a Christian and wrote Amazing Grace. Ken Wales' film Amazing Grace tells part of Newton's story. I watched it again the other night and was moved deeply all over again. This clip shows how the tune that Newton used for Amazing Grace most likely came from a Negro spiritual. It's eight minutes long, but you can get the essence of this profound connection in the first half. The rest is a beautiful rendition of the song.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

When I was in Guatemala with Compassion we visited a Compassion site that provided pure drinking water for local residents. This clip shows another group that's working to provide drinking water around the world. Jennifer Connelly's character shows the profound reality of how blessed we are in developed nations.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Theology dramatized

One of my students at MasterWorks told me before joining us that he wanted to focus on being a theologian rather than an actor. I told him the program would enhance his abilities to express theology. I'm glad to see Sadler Mahan is proving that out with the help of another MasterWorks alum, his brother, Cody.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Eric Liddell's story told during the Olympics

Things are shaping up to take Beyond the Chariots to Asia during the Olympic Games this summer.

The play tells the rest of the Chariots of Fire story: How, after breaking the world record in the 1924 Olympics, Eric Liddell spent the rest of his life as a missionary in China.

The play has been translated into Spanish, Chinese and translators are working on Portuguese, French and Korean.

I'm also working on a docudrama about Eric Liddell with a group in Hong Kong. I've written a rough draft of the screen play, and now I'm working to incorporate our newest interviews. I'll get to play Eric Liddell in the dramatizations.

Because the Hong Kong Dollar is linked to the US dollar, the money they've raised for the project is not going as far as they hoped. Also, many funds have been rediverted to help earthquake victims in that region. I've decided to raise some funds to cover my expenses to make their budget go further and therefore raise the quality of the film.

If you'd like to make a donation for either of these endeavors, make checks payable to Westchester Chapel. If you want the money to go toward performances during the Olympics write "Emmaus Arts--Olympics" in the memo line. If you want it to go toward the docudrama, write "Emmaus Arts--Docudrama" in the memo line. Send to:

Westchester Chapel
214 Central Ave.
White Plains, NY 10606


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Filled with Hope,
Rich & Joyce

The following is an excerpt from the Off-Broadway performance.