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Dramatic Insights News

All the latest goings-on with Greg and Jenn Wright, Hollywood Jesus Books and DIM.

About Greg & Jenn Wright: Greg and Jenn Wright have been married since 1999, and share passions for God, drama, literature and movies (among other things). In 2003, they were honored as Best Actor and Best Actress in a production of While the Lights Were Out at Redwood Theatre in Redmond, Washington; since then, health issues have kept them off the stage. Freelance writers and editors, they both have degrees in Literature and Theology, and are proud to be members of Harambee Church in Renton. Greg is Writer in Residence at Puget Sound Christian College in Everett, Washington, and is the author of Peter Jackson in Perspective: The Power Behind Cinema's The Lord of the Rings (HJ Books, 2004) and Tolkien in Perspective: Sifting the Gold from the Glitter (VMI, 2003). Together, they have edited and published a number of other books.
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Narnia Press Clippings

As the run-up to the opening of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe intensifies, building to the Dec. 7 London premiere, Dec. 8 group screenings and Dec. 9 general debut, the press has come knocking on our door for our insights on Narnia. LeSEA Broadcasting, for instance, had us on for a live interview on the syndicated cable talk show The Harvest Show while we were in South Bend, Indiana. In Nashville, both of us were quoted in an Ethics Daily article about the Past Watchful Dragon Conference. Greg has also been consulted by a CNN producer and the Associated Press, and has had comments appear in columns in the San Deigo Tribune, the Denver Post and The Threefold Post (John Brown University). More press clippings will follow... And we'll add the links here, if you're interested.

Jenn's Personal Blog

Jenn's got a new blog up, a place for her to record her "general musings on life—in poetry, prose, and various forms of soul-baring." Check it out!

Notre Dame Report

November 15, Greg delivered a lecture at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, as part of the Center for Ethics and Culture's Fall Catholic Writers Lecture Series. This year's featured writer was J. R. R. Tolkien, and Greg was invited to speak specifically on the film adaptations of Tolkien's work. The title of Greg's talk was "Missing the Spirit: The Scouring of the Shire, Tolkien's Catholicism and Peter Jackson's The Return of the King."

The focus of Greg's lecture was twofold: first, how the excision of The Scouring of the Shire in the LOTR films neuters the theme of mercy in Tolkien's work, and how director Peter Jackson's failure to understand Tolkien's faith led to a very different depiction of mercy in the films. The lecture, which closed out the series, was well received.

Other speakers in the weekly lecture series included Baylor's Dr. Ralph Wood, author of The Gospel According to Tolkien, and Joseph Pearce, Writer in Residence at Ave Maria College and author of Tolkien: Man and Myth (among many other scholarly works). We met Dr. Wood at the conference in Birmingham, England last August, and Greg corresponded with Mr. Pearce while researching his first book.

Prior to the lecture, we had dinner with eight of Notre Dame's undergraduate students, to give them a chance for some extended Q&A about Tolkien and the movies. More Q&A followed the lecture, and the evening concluded with a signing of Greg's book, Peter Jackson in Perspective.

While we were in South Bend, we had lunch with Tom Price, another of the Hollywood Jesus reviewers, and Greg did an extensive interview with the local paper.

We also did a live segment on The Harvest Show, an internationally syndicated Christian TV program, and were interviewed by the program's hosts about The Chronicles of Narnia. It was the first TV appearance for both of us! What a hoot. And thank God that He didn't allow us to embarrass Him on live global TV! After the live show was taped, Greg did an additional taped segment about Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings.

It's good the ministerial end of the trip went well, because the travel end was not so hot. We had to rebook our flight the night before our departure because the rescheduled layover in Chicago got so short that United considered it an "illegal connection." After a not-too-with-it phone booking agent tried to maroon us in Santa Barbara, we finally wound up with a flight that got us to our hotel about midnight. Ugh. On the return trip, area snowstorms and ice delayed our 20-minute flight from South Bend to O'Hare in Chicago so much that we almost missed the connection.

Winter travel through O'Hare. 1 degree temps. What a pain!

Public Readings of Greg's New Play

Redwood Theatre is sponsoring public readings of a new play by Greg Wright, Beasley's Christmas Party. The readings will be held at 7 PM December 2 and 6 in rehearsal rooms on the fouth floor of the Seattle Center House.

Beasley's Christmas Party is an adaption of two novels by Booth Tarkington, and focuses on the days leading up to America's entry into the second World War. Conflict is the subject of this light drama—personal conflict, domestic conflict and global conflict.

Greg has assembled a first-rate cast for the readings, calling on lead actors from past productions: Evan Woltz (Broken Glass), Michelle Tuck (Saint Joan), George Rosok (Murder in the Cathedral), Jenn Wright (A Man for All Seasons), Melanie Calderwood (The Curious Savage), Dave Stark (Who'll Save the Plowboy?) and Kathy Bledsoe (Homecoming).

The play is dedicated to Jim Drake.

Seating is limited. Be on hand at 7 PM sharp!

Book Release Party Set

Saturday, November 26 from 6 to 7:30 PM, Harambee Church (316 S 3rd St. in Renton) will be hosting a release party for Two Roads through Narnia, our latest book. Jenn, Kathy, George and Greg will all be on hand to sign copies and read short segments from the book.

Come on down to say hello, hang out and check out the new book. Support George and Kathy, in particular, for their first time in print!

Belmont Report

Our trip to Nashville for the Past Watchful Dragons conference was a huge success. Greg's paper, "Sometimes a Film May Say Best What's to be Said," was very well received. Bruce Edwards, one of the keynote speakers, called it one of the two highlights of the conference.

We were hosted in Nashville by Jack Vaughn and his parents Cliff and Mary. Though Jack is only two years old, everyone in that household knows who wears the pants. Cliff is a filmmaker and journalist whom Greg has gotten to know through film junkets. Cliff and Mary also both teach at Belmont University. Cliff reported on the conference at Ethics Daily, including comments from both Jenn and Greg in the article.

C.S. Lewis' stepson Douglas Gresham was on hand at the conference to promote the upcoming Narnia film and his own new book, Jack's Life. We picked up a signed copy for our friend Kathy Bledsoe, to thank her for taking care of Deet while we were gone—and later, Jenn got into a bit of a verbal sparring match with Mr. Gresham.

It seems that he took violent exception to my suggestion, during a Q&A session at a reception dinner the night before, that the new Narnia film's success depends, to a great degree, on the unique flavor that director Andrew Adamson will bring to the project. Gresham begged to differ, and kept begging and differing all the way into the following day.

Jenn pointed out to him that, despite his objections to my premise, his own comments supported it. Gresham acknowledged, as Adamson has pointed out in print, that the Kiwki director wanted to capture in his film the wonder of Narnia that he felt as an 8-year-old when he read The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time. Alas, Gresham unrepentantly insisted to Jenn that any director would have done, so long as the director faithfully translated Lewis' tale to the screen. The story itself, says Gresham, can't possibly fail. Jenn quite graciously declined to point out that plenty of other adaptations have failed quite spectacularly. Oh, well.

The conference closed with a performance of Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings symphony. The first two movements were thematically muddled, and the performance was hampered by a late-arriving crowd and on-the-fly tweaks to an amplification system necessary because the Nashville Symphony was performing in Belmont's basketball stadium. Not the best acoustics in the world. The young male soloist was nervous and had trouble hitting his notes squarely, and a prolonged (and uncharted) delay between the movements was necessary to finish seating patrons. After intermission, however, the final four movements, covering The Two Towers and The Return of the King, were magnificent and stirring. The female soloist was outstanding.

We wrapped up our trip with a journey to Kingsport to visit with Wes and Traci Patten. What a blessing! Good friends, great ministy. Get on board with what Hope House is doing if you haven't already.

Book Review Posted

A couple of weeks ago, Jenn posted a review of Robert Liparulo's apocalyptic thriller Comes a Horseman on Hollywood Jesus. Says Jenn,
In short, Comes a Horseman is a well-written, engaging novel, with an unfortunately narrow audience. A bit more thrills (sans cheesy romance) and fewer overtly “Christian” references, and Liparulo would be in contention with the best “worldly” thrill writers of the day.
You might also enjoy her recent review of the movie Dreamer.

Further Archives

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