|Pastor and playwright: Chapin Garner|
BPT alum Chapin Garner’s Lenten play The Galilean recently became available online through Lillenas Drama (a division of Lillenas Publishing Company), which provides scripts and resources for churches and other religious institutions. Check it out here.
Chapin took the time to answer a few questions about this project for us, during what must be a seriously busy time of year for him…
You’re a religious playwright. I imagine there is quite a demand for plays in this niche.
Certain evangelical churches have theater arts ministries which look for plays to read and produce. However, biblically-based plays are somewhat hard to come by. I hope they find a niche somewhere.
Your day job (as pastor at United Church of Christ-Congregational in Norwell) must keep you incredibly busy! Where does playwriting fit into your life?
I am always writing on the side. Writers, write – right? It is amazing what a person can accomplish if you don’t watch too much TV. I have had four plays published, and will have my fourth book published this fall, so writing is extensively woven into my vocation.
Tell us a little bit about The Galilean, and your process for developing the script. I understand much of the dialogue comes directly from The Bible. What initially drew you to the story?
The Galilean is as political and relational retelling of the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the central Christian story. I want people to know that story, and I want them to know the scripture that speaks of it. I also wanted to use scripture in a very conversational way, and I think I accomplished that to a fair degree.
The play was just published as an e-book. A lot of people are hoping script e-books are going to be big. (Will it be a game-changer for the publication of dramatic works, as iTunes was for the music industry?) What drew you to publishing The Galilean in this medium?
It is actually published in downloadable form. It seems as though more and more publishers are doing on-demand e-publishing. Because of costs involved in traditional publication, I imagine this trend will continue. However, I suspect we are a long way from having actors with kindles on-stage for rehearsals.
What about seeing the play in production around these parts? Any chance we’ll be able to catch The Galilean around here in the near future?
I hope to see it soon. It is a Lenten piece, and it was published a bit too late for churches to plan productions in time for the season. My hope is to have numerous productions around the country next Lent – 2012.
What are you working on now?
I am just polishing up my latest book, Scattering Seeds: Cultivating Church Vitality. It is a volume dedicated to church growth and vitality. It is being published and released by Alban Publishing later this year.