Washington's Armor

I got to I got to perform in the upcoming series Washington's Armor and I was also their dialect coach. 

The series shows the many ways young George Washington's life was preserved, and how he had a sense that the Lord was protecting him for something important. 

I played a cook who sings to his pigs and helped all 32 speaking actors work on nine accents: Received pronunciation, Scouse (Liverpool), French, French Canadian, Dutch, Delaware Native (Lanape), and three variations of Early American accents. 

The most challenging was the Delaware Native accent, because people who spoke it exclusively before learning English have not been alive for two or three generations. I found a talking dictionary and chart of letters that helped.

Click below to watch the trailer and interview, or if you're receiving this in an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/WashingtonsArmor.


Here's a great interview with our producer/director, Tammy Lane:

 

Here's a behind the scenes video put together by my friend Dean Mountford:

I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War, around the same time of the Young George Washington's adventures.


Seventy-five years since Eric Liddell broke the final ribbon

Today marks the 75th anniversary of Eric Liddell's death. He was known more for his actions as an Olympic champion and missionary than for his prayers, but I'd like to share something I discovered about his death that shows how close his intercession brought him to the Lord. 

I think all the biographers share that his last words were about "complete surrender." I've been performing my one-man play about the second half of his life, Beyond the Chariots, since 2004, and in the course of telling his story I discovered something about his final moments on earth that's not included in any biographies I know about. 

Now, I recently mentioned his name while leading a workshop at the Content2020 Film Festival and Media Summit, and then it dawned on me that there may be several in the room who didn't know who he was. A show of hands proved my suspicions, so let me give you a bit of a biography:

He was a rugby and track celebrity of the 1920s, and his fame was renewed when his story was told in the film Chariots of Fire, which garnered four Academy Awards in 1981. 

Reporters throughout Great Britain were looking forward to Eric proving he was the fastest man alive in the 100m race at the 1924 Paris Olympics. But when Eric discovered that one of the heats was going to be held on a Sunday, he chose to honor the Lord that day and not himself. 

The press berated him and called him a traitor, but though they tried to cancel him, he shifted gears.

He trained for the 400m, and he later told his daughter Patricia that the choice forced him to discover he was really designed to run the 400m distance. In the final heat he took off like it was a sprint, and everyone thought he'd hit his wall. Instead, he picked up speed! His second 200m split was faster than his first! He beat the next runner, Horatio Fitch, by five meters, a distance that wouldn't be broken at the Olympics for three decades. Eric broke the world record, and then the press celebrated him again. 

Later, when he graduated from Edinburgh University, after reading Eric's name, the provost broke into the standing ovation to say, "Mr. Liddell, you've proven that none can pass you but your examiners." He had offers flooding in for playing rugby, coaching, and for speaking engagements. Once there were a thousand people outside one of the largest halls in Edinburgh trying to hear what he had to say. 

But he left that all behind to be a missionary to China, where he'd been born in the wake of the Boxer Rebellion. The Boxers attempted to push all Westerners out of China, focusing on the Christians. They killed 133 missionaries and 30,000 Chinese Christians. 

So Eric left fame and fortune behind to serve where people didn't want him to return! 

I sprinted around a track
Eric Liddell designed in Tianjin.
He served as a science teacher and track coach in Tientsin, which is now Tianjin, a bedroom community to Beijing.

Japan invaded China in 1937, and tensions escalated until Eric's wife, Flo took their daughters Patricia and Heather to Canada, where Flo's parents were born. Their third daughter, Maureen, told me she made the trip in a cab with the windows rolled up. She was born in Toronto in 1941. 

Eric stayed behind to serve the Chinese people. His daughters told me his choice not to join them always troubled them, but time would heal those wounds. 

I portrayed Eric in a contribution to the Getty's Global Hymn Sing, as the missionary might have been, missing his family after their departure (www.RichDrama.com/EricLiddellHymnSing).

On December 8, 1941, Eric woke up to discover that Pearl Harbor had been attacked and he was now considered an enemy of Japan. They came through Tientisin and put a patch of ownership on every person and item of any value, and shortly after that, Japanese soldiers crammed nearly 2,000 people from 26 enemy nations into a small Presbyterian missions compound in Weihsien, China.

I've heard what that internment camp was like from a few people who were there. I was once performing Beyond the Chariots in Hong Kong, and I had asked Jamey Hudson Taylor, the great grandson of the vanguard missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, to speak after my performance. He canceled, because he wasn't feeling well. He said his secretary didn't recognize his voice when he called in. When the time came, he was feeling up to attending the performance, so I wanted to acknowledge that he was there. Much to my surprise he came to the stage, and explained that he couldn't help but let us know that it would have been "Uncle Eric's" 105th birthday. He went on to tell the audience how Eric had been a father to many of the children in the camp. He taught them science and coached all sorts of sports. I first met Jamey after my performance at his church the year before. In the play, at the time, I referred to a baseball game. Jamey came up to me after the play and, before introducing himself to me, said, "It was softball. We didn't have enough room to play baseball." 

With Heather, Patricia and
their husbands.
When Patricia, Heather and Maureen began corresponding with Jamey, his sister Mary Taylor Previte, and some of the others who had been children or teens in the internment camp, the sisters realized that the Lord used their father's separation from his family to bless other children, and it reframed their perception of him abandoning them. 

Eric was a bright spot in the internment camp, but one day he lost a race, and everyone took notice. He was having headaches, and they got worse and worse, until he was hospitalized. 

The Salvation Army band would play outside his window, and Heather still has a slip of paper on which her father wrote a request for his favorite hymn: "Be Still My Soul." When you hear that played in my play, it's actually by a family in the Salvation Army, recorded about 15 years ago. 

Portraying Eric's headaches.
The biographies, at least all of the many I've read, tell how Eric slipped into a coma on February 21, 1945, and that his last words were about "complete surrender," a description of how he'd lived his whole life. In the course of performing my play I've read every biography available, including one out of print at the Eric Liddell Centre, thanks to his niece, Dr. Peggy Judge. I've met dozens of people who remember him. Not one of them has ever had a negative thing to say about him. 

Not many know that the Olympic champion actually had a second wind and finished even more dramatically. He came out of that coma for a brief moment. I interviewed Mary Previte, and she told me her sister's boyfriend was in that hospital the night Eric resuscitated. I saw a medical form for Eric in a London museum which indicated that the brain tumor had taken away his strength in his right side and taken away much of his eyesight, but the young man said that Uncle Eric ran down the hall, collapsed into the arms of that young man, and as Uncle Eric tumbled to the ground he told how he was seeing seven angels coming down over the camp. Those were his last words.

About six months later, on August 17, 1945, seven paratroopers were dropped from a B-24 Liberator nicknamed "The Armored Angel." Mary told her recollections from her childhood of those heroes rescuing them. They were ecstatic! They burst the gate and met them before they could get to the camp. That Salvation Army band played a medley of all the Allied nations. Since they didn't know who their liberators might be, they practiced them all... playing the second and third parts only. Those playing the melody only fingered their instruments so their captors wouldn't know what they were playing! 

As an adult Mary hunted down all seven of the paratroopers to thank them. She called them their angels. I got to interview one of them, Tad Nagaki, who was in his 90s at the time. After the interview he climbed on his tractor and got back to work: angelic fortitude!

Beyond the Chariots
ends with Liddell whispering, "Complete surrender," but then it shows what few know happened after he slipped into that coma. You can watch my performance of it in Singapore (www.RichDrama.com/BtC). I didn't add his final sprint down the hallway until two years after that performance, when I brought it to London during the 2012 Olympics, but you will see him watch the angels descend.

After all the years I've run in Uncle Eric's shoes by portraying him in dozens of nations, I had never thought of him as an intercessor, but he certainly was! When he checked into the hospital, he gave his running shoes to a young man named Stephen Metcalf. Earlier, he was challenged by Uncle Eric when he pointed out that they should be praying for the Japanese. In his book Disciplines of the Christian Life, Eric pointed out that the Sermon on the Mount seems upside down when you first look at it, but after examining it, you realize that the world is upside down. He drew often from the right-side-up Sermon on the Mount, including that day when he quoted Matthew 5:44: "...Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." To Stephen, praying for those who were depriving him of his freedom was an upside down concept, but he prayed anyway. He didn't notice a sudden change in the guards, but he did notice a change in his attitude toward them. 

Stephen Metcalf went on to be a missionary to Japan for about forty years. 

I encourage you to take a moment now to pray for our enemies, and pray for athletes and other celebrities to come into Salvation and articulate the Lord's truths to their fans. 
 
See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance

King James Live

On the first night of Content2020 Film Festival & Media Summit I "happened" to sit next to Ashley Strand, and we discovered that we both perform one-man plays. 

He had just started performing The Book of Mark, inspired by Alec McCowan, who I'd seen perform it at The Lamb's Theatre in the 90s. Then the lockdowns canceled many of his bookings, so he used his unique apartment as his stage and recorded it... all of it... in a single take! 

Joyce and I watched it last night and just loved it! It's absolutely brilliant! The thoughtful use of the space with actor and camera (by Katherine Carr, who co-directed with Ashley) was mesmerizing.

You can watch for free with commercials, rent or buy it at www.KingJamesLive.org

Here's the trailer, which you can watch by clicking the arrow below, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com:

The Gospel According to Mark from ASHLEY STRAND on Vimeo.


Here's a really fun piece he put together, exposing many of the phrases we quote today from the King James Bible:

I released “Pentecost: Beyond the Imagination,” a scene from my one-man play, The Actsat www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost.

Abraham and the Covenant Keeper

Trevor the Treasure Seeker and his actor explore the story of Abraham for the children of Westchester Chapel.

Click the arrow below, or if you're getting this through an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/TreasureSeekers.


Here's a great video about covenant, and it mentions Abraham's covenant with the Lord:


The sketch "The Covenant Keeper" is from my one-man play Views of the Manger.

I helped the actors develop "Father Abraham Had Many Faith-filled Moments" through sociodrama for the Winona Lake Brethren Church. For more on sociodrama visit www.RichDrama.com/Workshops www.RichDrama.com


I released “Pentecost: Beyond the Imagination,” a scene from my one-man play, The Actsat www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost.

Is Jesus Your King?

This morning at Westchester ChapelJoyce taught on Matthew 2 about Jesus the King of His People and prays that each person would be willing to let the Lord remove sin and demonic spirits from them so that they can recognize Jesus at work in the world and be prepared for His Second Coming.  

She mentions the Swingle Christmas tree and manger scene, both pictured here. 
She also mentions a Wednesday night Bible study by Rebekah W. and one by Pastor Randy Solomon, as well as last week's message by Pastor Jim Warren. I pray over the message and the offering.

Click the arrows below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:

 

Joyce's message reminded me of a documentary we saw years ago that illuminates modern astronomical studies which show what the magi saw:

 
This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.


I play a Scrooge-like character in the audio drama, Unlikely Wise Man. It was going to be free until December 31, but last I checked it was still free.

Silent Night: a Christmas Journey

Times Square Church posted their first feature film on Christmas Eve, and it is--in a word--charming! 

The story follows Charlie, a young man with special needs, who steps out of his comfort zone to deliver a poinsettia to a customer at the store where he works (played by Patricia Mauceri, Bull, One Life to Live, Courageous Love). Along the way he encounters others in deeper need than himself, and with the help of a couple of guardian angels who give Clarence a run for his money, Charlie blesses everyone he comes across... eventually. 

Charlie isn't the only one facing a challenge. His adopted brother Joey triggers their father's military reactions, but Tony Award winner Ben Harney plays Adam, a catalyst of reconciliation between his grandson and the man Adam entrusted to raise him. 

Click the arrow below to watch it for free, or if you're receiving this in an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/SilentNight.



You can hear me play a Scrooge-like character in the new audio drama Unlikely Wise Man for free through December 31.

The Unlikely Wise Man


A blessed Christmas to you all!


One of the students from the 
Lamplighter Guild, Angelina SantaLucia (to the right of me, with Rachel Marley), wrote to me several weeks ago letting me know that she got a role in a radio show for a studio audience being produced by Lamplighter Theatre. I was thrilled for her!

I put it on my calendar and looked forward to hearing it. I also said a prayer that someday I'd get to perform in one of Lamplighter's live productions.

A few days later I was asked to audition for the same project! Woo hoo!

I was cast as a Scrooge-like character in this new radio show, adapted by Molly Mayo and Lamplighter president, Mark Hamby, from Bells Across the Snow by Fannie Eden. 

I play Robert Redfern, who is successful in business, but when it comes to family he says, "Love leads to loss and loneliness, and unless you’re strong enough to overcome it, it will ruin you...bankrupt you!" He develops this philosophy when his wife dies, and he blames God. He refuses invitations from his brother (played by 
David Sanborn, pictured here). He pushes his daughter away because she wants to marry someone who is "unable to give you the life that money can buy!"

But the Lord reaches Robert through a little girl, a lamb, a clever butler and some letters.

For the radio show, we performed it the way they did back in the '30s. We were dressed in period costumes and had minimal blocking around four mics. Foley artists created the sounds before the audience's eyes!

One of the foley artists, Oscar Corral (pictured here, adjusting the mic for his bride of three months in the booth where they met on 
Escape from the Eagle's Nest), also played a couple of roles, so when he "entered the house," I ran over to the foley corner and created his footsteps! It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

You can hear a recording of the radio show by clicking here.

As we got closer to doing the radio show as a live production, the decision was made to record it as an audio drama in the sound booth to go out to radio stations around the world! This meant we skipped a rehearsal for the live version and spent time in the booth to get a studio quality sound. It was a very tight turn-around for sound designer Allen Hurley (Adventures in Audio and other Lamplighter Theatre projects) and composer John Campbell (Adventures in Audio and other Lamplighter Theatre projects). 

They finished Monday, and more than 400 radio stations have signed up to air it so far! 

The audio drama is available for free for now. It was supposed to turn to the paid model after December 31, but as of January 5, it's still free at www.UnlikelyWiseMan.com.

Here's a preview featuring the voice of John Fornof, who has 
directed me in a number of audio dramas.

Listen for Free before December 31
See the highlights of our year, which was actually quite full, at www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2020.

The Good Shepherd

Drawn by Melissa Thomsen.
www.MelissaJacie.com
Used by permission.
This morning I got to do a dramatic reading of Luke 2:1-21 to bring home Pastor Randy Solomon's sermon on that passage about the shepherds of Bethlehem encountering the angels. A couple of months ago I did a photo shoot for the artist Melissa Thomsen for an Advent series she's doing. She finished the drawing to the left just in time to illustrate today's service!

Pastor Jim Warren opens the service. Rachel Taylor prays over the service. 

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: 


This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.



Have a blessed Christmas!

Gifted Hands Virtual Holiday Greeting

Joyce and I were both featured in the Gifted Hands Virtual Holiday Greeting tonight. We both talked about our connection to Gifted Hands and Dustee Hullinger, who created and sustains the ministry. Then I showed my performance of "Harvey Silverstein the Innkeeper" in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Joyce shared her performance of “The Shepherd’s Daughter” as she performed it in the Shepherd’s Cave in Bethlehem.

Click the arrow, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com (12/17). 



Have a blessed Advent Season: www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2020.

Pray with Others, December 17

Joyce and I are leading prayers for our nation every Thursday at 12:15 pm Eastern with Intercessors for America. Here's today's prayer call... 

Click the arrow to play, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com (12/10).

 

To get reminders and a list of the articles we'll be praying over, sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Prayer.


Have a blessed Advent Season: www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2020.

Pray with Others, December 10

Joyce and I are leading prayers for our nation every Thursday at 12:15 pm Eastern with Intercessors for America. Here's today's prayer call...

Click the arrow to play, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com (12/10).


To get reminders and a list of the articles we'll be praying over, sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Prayer.


Have a blessed Advent Season: www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2020.

Take Courage! Despite Animosity, The Church Advances!

Joyce continues our series at Westchester Chapel on The Church Advances, teaching from Acts 21:27 - Acts 23:11 how the Lord thwarts animosity to ensure the Gospel is preached across the world.  Drama Evangelist Rich Swingle shares a section from his one-man play The Acts.  Pictured:  a view of at "Let Us Worship" protest on the National Mall in October 2020.  

Elizabeth J. opens with prayer.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:

 

This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of Rich Swingle.


Have a blessed Advent Season: 
www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2020


Wishing You Peace this Christmastime!

Joyce and I wish you blessings and peace this Advent Season and Christmas! 

Our world has never been peaceful, but it feels as chaotic as it has ever been right now.

Here's a Trevor the Treasure Seeker episode about how the Lord wants to destroy the authority that establishes chaos and bring shalom...

Click the button to play or visit www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2020.


Celebrate the peace that only the Lord Jesus Christ can give to our world.

Stay tuned for The Unlikely Wise Man, a radio drama in which I'll play Robert Redfern, a curmudgeon who finds peace in a storm of life, brought to him by a little child and a lamb.

We praise the Lord that He kept us busy despite the lockdowns. I taught and performed in 13 states this year, mostly before the first lockdown. 

Here are a few highlights:

January 
I played two London cab drivers, one posh and one with a cockney accent, for Jonathan Park episode 15

February
Treasure Seekers episode in Nashville.

March
Workshop for Princeton University... over video conference.

April

May
Released "Beyond the Imagination," excerpts from my one-man play The Acts

June
Taught, coached and performed in three short films at The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp: "Hope Alert," "Interrogation," and "Thanksgiving Without."

July

August
I preached on Acts 10:1-48 at Westchester Chapel: www.RichDrama.com/TheDreamKing.

September
Joyce and I were invited to lead prayers over current events for Intercessors for America through a program called Pray with Others Live: www.RichDrama.com/Prayer.

October
Attended premiere of It's a Life Worth Living, in which I play a radio personality interviewing the main character.

November
The Adventum 3 was released, in which I played several characters.

December
Playing Robert Redfern in the radio show The Unlikely Wise Man for Lamplighter Theatre. Sign up to get the announcement when it's ready.

Have a blessed Advent and Christmas! 

You can revisit or share this page using www.RichDrama.com/Christmas2020.

Pray with Others Live

Joyce and I are leading prayers for our nation every Thursday at 12:15 pm Eastern. Here's today's prayer call:


To get reminders and a list of the articles we'll be praying over, sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Prayer.


I released “Pentecost: Beyond the Imagination,” a scene from my one-man play, The Actsat www.RichDrama.com/Pentecost.

Revelation Virtual Film Premiere

Last summer I played the role of John in the Off-Broadway production of Revelation the Musical. The producers have stitched together a full performance of it from productions over the last ten years. They recorded our Off-Broadway production after Jonathan Blair took over the role, but they found some footage of me. So I'm so blessed that they worked it in.

You can watch it by clicking the arrow below. If you're getting this in an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/RevelationTenthAnniversary.
 

Registration opens Monday for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where I'll be teaching acting for film.

The Farmer and the Belle Online Premiere

Join us this Sunday! I play a small role and served as one of the NYC producers: www.RichDrama.com/TheFarmerAndTheBelle

Posted by Rich Swingle on Wednesday, November 25, 2020
See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance