The Dramatic Work of Rich and Joyce Swingle

Lamplighter Theatre

06.03.17 06:19 PM Comment(s) By Rich

Crystal Van Artsdalen, Rebekah Stought,
Rachel Marley and Morgan Fairbanks
have been my students at MasterWorks
 and The Rocky Mountain Christian
Filmmakers Camp
I played several roles and served as Afghan accent coach in the audio dramas Escape from the Eagle's Nest and The Giant Killer for Lamplighter Theatre, part of Lamplighter Ministries (

Both shows were broadcast on over 1600 radio stations in 30 nations.

The Giant Killer is now available, and on that page you can hear my voice in the Behind the Scenes Recordings at 19 seconds and 1:23.

Escape from the Eagle's Nest is also  available. You can see and hear my contributions in the video below...

Both stories are based on books by A.L.O.E., which stands for A Lady of England. It was the pseudonym she used to get those and many other books published in the 1800s.
In the booth with Israel Oyelumade,
Rachel Marley and David Sanborn.

After I was cast as a cook (to perform the role, not to actually prepare food), I was asked to recommend someone who could play an Afghan who grows from a little girl into a married woman. I recommended some of my students, and they chose Rachel Marley. Besides being my student numerous times she was on our performing arts team in Sochi during the 2014 Olympics. What a delight to work with her and have several scenes together.

A few weeks after they cast Rachel, producer John Fornof told me there were visa issues. They used to record in London, so that's where all their contacts are. John’s US contacts are union actors. He asked if I could get the word out to my nonunion contacts in case the visas did not come through since just about everyone besides Rachel and I were coming from the UK. This was the first time they invited people to watch the process, so dozens of observers were signed up, coming to Mt. Morris, NY, from as far as North Dakota.

Nathan "Nato" Jacobson and I have
been a part of four films together.
I sent out about 350 emails to students and colleagues who turned in 189 auditions. John and executive producer Mark Hamby said they had perfect peace about the situation and were sure the visas would come through but if not, God would provide. When the final word came that the visas were denied John and team went through all the auditions in two days, normally a two-week process! The casts were announced on Friday and Saturday and we began recording on Monday!

Garry Nation and I (who share three
film credits
) got to play giant brothers:
He was Sloth, and I was Selfishness.
The only one from the UK was Israel Oyelumade, who volunteered his time to bypass the need for a visa! Before I performed Beyond the Chariots for the community he shared how the Lord had led him to play Jesus in a massive Passion play. It was done outdoors with 300 actors.

I was delighted that Lamplighter Theatre cast four of my students, and that I got to perform with colleagues from numerous films. My friend David Sanborn was cast in twelve of the 17 roles for which he auditioned, and then he picked up others along the way.

Working with so many great friends in and of itself made it one of my favorite weeks, but the highlight came through a new friend, Akmal. Patrick Powell the director of Escape from the Eagle's Nest found him on an internet search. Akmal lived his first twelve years in Southern Afghanistan, where the story takes place! He translated passages from The Sermon on the Mount, Revelation and Isaiah into Pashto, and then he came up with a tune inspired by music from his homeland and recorded himself singing the Scripture while he played keyboards underneath it.

John Fornof and I in London where
he directed me in The Dragon and
the Raven

Our director for  Escape from
the Eagle's Nest
, Patrick Powell,
is one of a very small number
of actors who have performed
St. John in Exile by Dean Jones.
David Sanborn sang the Scriptures with our friend's tune, then he led the rest of the cast humming the tune. We were portraying the Afghanis who began by shouting down the foreigner. Then, as they were hearing words of life in their heart language, sung with a familiar tune they quieted down, and slowly started to join, humming the tune. I got to direct small groups who joined as the Scripture moved along. Once all of them had joined in, something extraordinary occurred. As had happened when he was singing the Pashto translation, David became overwhelmed with what was happening. We were all touched at a very deep level, so much so that everyone observing, including the director, were weeping. Executive Producer Mark Hamby compared it to the tongues of fire that fell on the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2)!

I'm so thrilled with how it turned out!

Throughout production there were Lamplighter Live students observing the process and jumping into the group scenes!

Here's the story of how it all came together:

Below you can hear my voice at :02, 1:03, where I'm performing with two former students, and see my "sword fight" at 1:05.

Below you can hear me at :25.
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