Recent Reports from Both Swingles

On October 23 at Westchester Chapel Rich Swingle reported on recent ministry opportunities in Taiwan, Singapore, Oregon and his recent performance in the film Writers' Block.  For photos from the Swingles outreach in Asia visit SwinglesInAsia2011.Shutterfly.com, and for more stories visit blog.richdrama.com (September and October 2011).



On October 9 at Westchester Chapel Pastor Joyce Swingle reported on recent ministry opportunities the Swingles have had: Performing Five Bells for 9/11 in NYC on 9/11, leading Spiritual Life Week at Morrison Academy in Taiwan, and performing The Acts during Homecoming at Rich's alma mater, George Fox University.

 

 These reports are available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

The Marvelous Month of MasterWorks!

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We're constantly amazed by the depth of growth spiritually and artistically that happens at MasterWorks, and this year was no exception!
The schnoz Brandon Langeland used for the title role of our MasterWorks production of Cyrano de Bergerac cast a long shadow.

We produced Cyrano de Bergerac, the story of a swashbuckling hero who won't dare to express his love for Roxane because he believes that his long nose makes him too ugly for her to love in return. Here are my closing statements after the last performance:


The level of professionalism our students brought to it was astonishing. We've been so pleased with the steady artistic growth in the program that next year we're taking our production of Karol Wojtyla's The Jeweler's Shop to New York City.  More on that as details develop.

This year's faculty brought spiritual and artistic insights from several cultural hubs: NYC, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, Melbourne, Virginia Beach and Jackson.

Curt Cloninger, who gave the very first one-man play I'd ever seen, inspiring me to make a 15 year career of it, came from Atlanta to share his play Witnesses for the Festival and community.  It introduces us to people who knew Jesus first hand: They were witnesses of his walk on earth.  Curt has taken his plays around the world and performed them for live audiences as large as 30,000.  The way the play was received by our community gives me hope that he has inspired a new generation to use its gifts for the Kingdom.

LA casting director, Bev Holloway, returned for her fourth straight year.  She's worked on more than 30 projects, including Like Dandelion Dust with Barry Pepper (nominated for the Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards) and Oscar winner Mira Sorvino.  She came fresh from Thailand with stories of casting the upcoming film Trade of Innocents in which Sorvino also performed.

Colin Harbinson, a Brit who makes his home in Jackson, MS, has worked for forty years in the arts, education and missions.  He is the creator of the internationally performed musical Toymaker and Son. He preached to the whole MasterWorks community using the story of Lazarus to talk about the death of a vision, and how the Lord resurrects greater things if we choose not to live in our woundedness. The stories he used as illustrations were profound and moving, as was his time with the theatre company the next day.

Susan Sommerville Brown, was back for her seventh straight season. She shared insights gained from decades of professional work on Broadway and in Chicago. She brought Maria Callas to life in a monologue from Master Class for one of our faculty recitals

New Yorker Patricia Mauceri was also back for her seventh season.  She shared stories of taking master classes with Callas that brought new meaning to Susie's work. As always, she worked with our students to build the spiritual lives of their characters.

This was the Festival's 15th anniversary, and to celebrate, we featured two alumni, who recently earned their masters degrees in Virginia Beach at Regent University: Chad Rasor served as fight choreographer for our play and Brandon Langeland, who played Cyrano, taught improv classes which culminated in what is a highlight of the Festival every year, our Theatre Improv Night, which segued into improvised worship and enacted prayer. We also had a Skype call with a MasterWorks alum, Irene Kao. She stayed up late to speak in our first class of the day. She's studying acting in Melbourne, Australia, at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, where Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe trained.

Just before MasterWorks started this year I took a four-day course on Whole Brain® Thinking. I used some of what I'd learned with our MasterWorks students to help them understand how they and the characters they played think.

I performed Paradise Lost for the festival with MasterWorks faculty members Terry Ewell and Doris DeLoach.  Ewell wrote this new work, based on Milton's epic poem, for the International Double Reed Conference in Tempe, AZ, at which we had just performed. We also performed it in Baltimore, MD, for YouTube.

All our instructors impart not only their expertise and wisdom in acting for stage and film, but they also share their testimonies as followers of Christ. On our final day as a company each student shared his or her purpose statement. We were all sobbing to hear the breakthroughs students had made on many levels throughout the month.

On the final day of the festival the entire community erected a pile of rocks commemorating the decisions we'd made throughout the month.

For information on this summer's program visit RichDrama.com/MWFTheatre2012.

For a report from last year's program, click here.

Paradise Lost

Here is the full performance of Paradise Lost for Narrator (with Percussion), Oboe, and Bassoon by Terry B. Ewell. Westchester Chapel hosted the first public performance of the introduction. Since then it was performed at the International Double Reed Conference in Tempe, Arizona, and at the MasterWorks Festival

Rich Swingle, Narrator, percussion; Doris DeLoach, oboe; Terry B. Ewell, bassoon. 1. Introduction. 2. Adam. 3. Eve.  


Play full performance in a play list.



Part 1A: Introduction, Adam, and Eve (6 min.)



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Part 1B: Worship and Dance (5 min.)



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Part 1C: Angel's Charge and Satan's Soliloquies (9 min.)



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Part 2A: Temptation of Eve (12 min.)



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Part 2B: Temptation of Adam (8 min.)



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Part 3A: Judgment and Repentance (8 min.)



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Part 3B: Sacrifice and Expulsion, Acknowledgements (7 min.)



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Comments on Paradise Lost by Terry B. Ewell



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The Mighty Macs

This film is just stupendous! It's right up there with Miracle and Hoosiers. You seriously won't believe it, even though everyone where pins that say, "Believe!"  Best of all, your in a theatre where everyone is rooting for people dedicated to serving the Lord. Awesome!

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

We LOVED The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry! Such a sweet story. It was produced by Chad Gundersen, who produced A Christmas Snow in which I played Claud. The casting director was Beverly Kennedy Holloway, who is a regular at MasterWorks. I was a huge Love Boat fan, and Gavin MacLeod was one of the first actors I ever met. He's a gem, and his work in this film is so touching. Thrilled to hear him say this role was the pinacle of his career.
 

Report on Asia

This morning I reported on our recent adventures in Taiwan, Singapore, Oregon and  Writers' Block.  For photos from the our time in Asia visit SwinglesInAsia2011.Shutterfly.com, and for more stories visit this blog's September and October 2011 archives.



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.

Report on Writers' Block

This morning at Westchester Chapel I shared about the overwhelmingingly positive experience I had performing the role of Forrest Woods in Writers' Block.

Freud's Last Session

After our board meetings today we went out to see shows. Most had already Freud's Last Session in NYC the month it opened (July 2010). That production is now moving to another theatre and is currently the longest running play Off-Broadway. But I've been out of town so much I haven't been able to take it in. So I saw it here in Atlanta.

Phenomenal!



The Screenwriters

I'm excited to have played the Hollywood director Forrest "Woodsy" Woods in this fun 1940's film about a couple of writers who are locked in a room and can't come out until the script is done... at 8am the next morning.

It debuted to a packed room with about 50 people standing at the Christian Worldview Film Festival in San Antonio, March 2015.

There's a NYC screening in the works! Sign up for the announcement at RichDrama.com/UpdatesNYC.

You can watch it now: TheScreenwritersMovie.com.



Jason Burkey plays one of the writers. He played the lead role in For the Glory in which I played his soccer coach.

Jenn Gotzon plays the ingenue, and Jim McKeny is my character's producer. Jenn and Jim both performed in Alone Yet Not Alone with me, and several of the behind-the-scenes folks, including executive producer George Escobar and casting director Rebekah Cook, who played my daughter in Indescribable, also worked on Alone.





The Screenwriters Website Teaser from Ian A. Reid on Vimeo.

I got to report on this overwhelmingly positive experience at Westchester Chapel.


Response from Taiwan

We've been quite busy lately, so now that I'm flying home from Oregon I'm finally looking through responses from students at Morrison Academy in Taiwan where Joyce and I led the Spiritual Life Week. I'm weeping over some of the encouraging things the seventh graders wrote! Here are a few samples:

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Swingle...it's hard to believe how you can sacrifice everything for God. :) I hope that I'll be able to do that when I grow up."

"Thank you for coming all the way to Taiwan to teach us."

"I...am very grateful that you would come to our school to talk to us."

"I enjoyed this week's talks."

"Thank you for bringing me closer to God."

"I think the acting helps lead people closer to God."

"We really learned a lot this week."

"I learned many new things I never knew."

"Now I am comforted to know that God will never leave me because of what Jesus did."

"I learned a lot about trust. I will always remember it."

"I learned to trust God even when it seems impossible."

"I learned that...we should always give thanks to God."

"I learned that God will make scary things exciting."

"I...learned that serving God can be fun and done in many ways."

"Thank you for teaching us about wisdom...and telling us that it is wonderful to trust and obey God."

"Combining acting and an interesting perspective on the Bible made this Spiritual Life Week a memorable one."

"Before you came, I didn't realize how important trust was... There (were) a lot of times that I was lost. Now I know that when we trust God He guides us through the valley of the shadow of death."

"I learned... that knowing God is the best thing you can ever have! It guides you through darkness and comforts you when you're heartbroken. I know that sometimes I may feel forsaken by God, but He's always with us."

"I have learned that nothing can really make you happy except for Jesus' love. I have my entire life to learn and serve Jesus."

"One thing I learned was that you can always trust the Lord."

"Two things I've learned: Trust in the Lord through darkness and rough times. Always believe that God will be there for you even if you don't see Him."

"It really made me think about my life and how I can change it to make it better."

"I learned that trusting God really can make a difference, and I shouldn't be afraid when God asks me to do something; just do it, and great things will happen!"

"Thank you for changing my life."

"It has been an awesome week. Thanks!"

"Our school feels encouraged!"

"We will miss you!"

"Please visit us again sometime."

Joyce and I had so much fun working together we'd love to do Spiritual Life Weeks all the time. If you know of a school that has a Spiritual Life Week, please send them to http://RichDrama.com.

Performing at my alma mater


I'm on the campus of George Fox University, where my play The Acts is being featured for Homecoming and my 20th reunion.

I get to talk after my performances about how George Fox helped prepare me for full-time work in the performing arts. I actually had several epiphanies that I hadn't thought about for a while: saw my first one-man play (Curt Cloninger) here; saw my second one-man play (Roger Nelson) with a group from George Fox; my stint in the Players was basically a prototype for what I do now; a chapel speaker invited us to walk to the front if we were willing to go anywhere for the Lord, etc. One of the theatre profs, @Rhett Luedtke, said at our Players dinner that they focus on preparing Servant Storytellers. When I was a student that term wasn't used, but that was exactly how we were being prepared 20 years ago.

Uncle Eric for Singapore Youth Day

I got to perform Beyond the Chariots at an invitation-only event at the Joyden Theatre at the Iluma Centre (pictured below) for Singapore's Youth Day. There were about 250 children and their families that came from around this island nation from a variety of churches. Some were invited through the Good News Club, which was an organization that helped me grow in my faith when I was a young boy. As the children came sweeping into the theatre I began to weep. I was so moved by the potential in their lives. Our prayer is that the seeds that were planted last night will grow for their lifetimes!